Valentine’s Day spending statistics 2021

Who are UK consumers spending their money this February 14th?

While this year’s Valentine’s Day celebrations may be different from prior times, Brits are still finding ways to indulge their partners, pets and themselves with gifts, (virtual) dates and much more. So, how much does the day really cost?

Quick overview

  • Up to 40 million Brits (76%) will be celebrating Valentine’s Day this year.
  • This is a significant drop from the 41.4 million who embraced the day of love in 2020.
  • Of those who will celebrate Valentine’s Day, the total spend has dropped to £926 million (£23 per person), from last year’s £1.45 billion (£35 per person).
  • 3 in 10 people (30%) who do not live with their partners plan to break lockdown rules and meet their partners inside.
  • 24% of Brits will not be celebrating Valentine’s Day this year.

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Change over time

Just over three quarters (76%) of the nation plan to celebrate Valentine’s Day in 2021, down from 79% in 2020, and up from 69% in 2018. We’ll also be spending less this year, with the average spend per person being £23. This is a percentage decrease of 34% from last year, which saw the average spend per person sit at £35. In 2018, the average spend per person was £28. This indicates the toll of the pandemic on romantic celebrations this year, as Brits will be spending 17% less on Valentine’s Day than they did three years ago.

This is also accompanied by the fact that more people than the years before will be celebrating Valentine’s Day without spending a penny. In comparison to the 18% of Brits who decided to do a money-free Valentine’s Day in 2020, and the 16% who chose to do so in 2018, 2021 will see over a quarter of Brits (26%) not spending anything at all.

How will Brits celebrate Valentine’s Day this year?

It’s no secret that the nation’s romantic options are somewhat limited this year, but for some Brits, not even a pandemic will keep them from their other halves. Our findings show that 30% of couples who live apart will be going full Romeo and Juliet this Valentine’s Day, with plans to break lockdown rules and spend time together indoors, despite not being from the same household (alike in dignity or not).

A quarter (25%) of those not living together will be going virtual this Valentine’s Day, as they plan to celebrate via video messaging or on the phone. Just under a fifth (19%) of Brits will go on a walk with their partners, while 14% will be exchanging gifts.

The best way to one’s heart is through the stomach, and this saying may prove true for those who live together, as their number one priority on Valentine’s Day will be getting takeaway (27%) or cooking a special meal (26%). This was closely followed by the classic act of binging a TV box set together or enjoying a movie night (21%).

How Brits plan to spend their Valentine's Day % of those celebrating Valentine's Day
My partner and I do live together and plan to get a takeaway 27%
My partner and I do live together and plan to cook a special meal 26%
My partner and I do not live together but plan to celebrate via video message or a phone call 25%
My partner and I do live together and plan to watch a movie or TV series 21%
My partner and I do live together and plan to go for a walk 19%
My partner and I do not live together but plan to spend time together inside 30%
My partner and I do live together and plan to exchange gifts 18%
My partner and I do live together and plan to celebrate in another way 16%
My partner and I do not live together but plan to go for a walk 19%
My partner and I do not live together but plan to exchange gifts 14%
My partner and I do live together and plan to play a board game 5%
My partner and I do not live together but plan to celebrate another way 7%

Valentine’s Day by gender

Of those who will celebrate Valentine’s Day this year, men look to be the bigger spenders. 55% of men who are celebrating Valentine’s Day this year also plan to spend money (the sum of those celebrating who will be spending more than £0), with the majority opting to spend between £1 and £40. In comparison, only 45% of women participating in Valentine’s Day celebrations this year are planning to spend money, with most planning to spend £10 or below.

Last year saw 9% of men planning to spend more than £100, but this percentage has dropped to just 2%. The biggest difference can be seen in women. 1% are willing to spend more than £100 on their partner this year, while 2020 saw that number sitting at 4%.

A large portion of men and women will not be spending any money this year. 28% of women will be keeping their pockets shut this February, and 24% of men will be doing the same.

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How much Brits plan to spend for Valentine's Day % of all % of men % of women
£0 26% 24% 28%
£1-10 13% 11% 14%
£11-20 11% 11% 11%
£21-40 10% 11% 10%
£41-60 8% 10% 5%
£61-80 3% 4% 2%
£81-100 3% 4% 2%
£101-150 1% 2% 1%
£151-200 1% 2% 0%
More than £200 0% 0% 0%
I will not be celebrating Valentine's day this year 24% 21% 26%

Valentine’s Day by region

London is the UK’s most romantically minded city – or at least its biggest-spending city – with those in the capital planning on spending just below £40 this Valentine’s Day. While the capital’s reign as the highest spending city still continues, the average amount per head has seen a drop of 25% since last year. In 2020, Londoners were happy to splurge an average of £52 per head. Contrastingly, 14% of Londoners won’t be spending money to celebrate Valentine’s Day, while another 14% won’t be celebrating the day at all.

At the other end of the scale, the East Midlands has the lowest average spend at £16, taking over last year’s lowest spenders in the South West (with an average spend of £28). Those in the East Midlands must be hoping that The Beatles maxim that “money can’t buy you love” holds true, as a whopping 34% plan on celebrating Valentine’s Day without spending a single penny. 21% of those in the East Midlands won’t be celebrating Valentine’s Day, which is a slight drop from last year’s 26%. 73% will be celebrating Valentine’s Day this year in Northern Ireland, which is lower than the enthusiastic 87% who were eager to celebrate in 2020.

Region Average amount to be spent for Valentine's Day
South West £18
South East £22
East of England £21
West Midlands £24
East Midlands £16
Yorshire and The Humber £22
North West £22
North East £23
Wales £18
Scotland £17
Northern Ireland £23
London £39

Valentine’s Day by age group

Generation Z has overtaken millennials as the UK’s highest-spending age group this Valentine’s Day, planning to fork out a whopping £41 on average for their loved ones. The next highest spenders were millennials (£32), followed by generation X (£19) and baby boomers (£11).

The silent generation are the lowest spenders, averaging £10. They’re also the least likely to celebrate Valentine’s Day of all the age groups (36%), but it should be noted that the silent generation are also the most likely to celebrate without spending any money (42%). They are followed by baby boomers (37%) and generation X (27%).

Age group 2021 2020
Generation Z £41 £27
Millennials £32 £42
Generation X £19 £38
Baby Boomers £11 £30
Silent Generation £10 £12

Georgia-Rose Johnson, shopping specialist at finder.com, says:

“With Valentine’s Day date ideas limited by the nationwide lockdown, you might expect people to spend more on presents this year. Instead, it seems that most couples are content with some nice food and a night in front of the TV.

“For those that don’t live with their partner, there are still ways to mark the occasion without breaking lockdown rules and potentially endangering your health. You could participate in a live, online event like a cooking class or interactive game, or just block out a good chunk of time to have a chat over the phone. However, if you are planning to send a gift or card to someone, here are some ideas.”

Methodology

  • A total of 2,000 people were questioned throughout Great Britain, with representative quotas for gender, age and region.
  • The research was conducted in January 2021.
  • Click here for more research. For all media enquiries, please contact

    Matt Mckenna
    Head of UK communications
    T: +44 20 8191 8806
    matt.mckenna@finder.com@MichHutchison/in/matthewmckenna2

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