In the run up to Valentine’s Day next weekend (and a blog post next week with some fab gift ideas) I have been asked by Evolution Money if I would like to host this guest post. It makes for very interesting reading!
It wasn’t that long ago that Valentine’s Day meant buying a card for your loved one and perhaps a bunch of flowers or a box of chocolates. Not anymore. Exactly how much we British spend on Valentine’s Day varies depending on the survey you look at, but whichever one you choose, the days of a simple card and a box of chocolates being sufficient on the 14th of February seem to be long gone. According to a survey for Travel Lodge by research company OnePoll, men spent a whopping £623 million last year on Valentine’s Day in the UK, although their female partners spent rather less at £355 million. How much does this work out at per person? On average, men spent £40 on their partner on Valentine’s Day, whereas women spent an average of £24, according to the data from OnePoll.
Interestingly, the amount spent varied last year from city to city. Sheffield was the most romantic, as partners there spent an average of £63 on one another. The least romantic lovers were found in Aberdeen, where the average Valentine’s Day gift cost a paltry £5. Another survey by American Express Platinum Charge Card pointed to similar findings, with men spending an average of £32 on gifts but women spending almost half as much at £18.
However, according to data from Ratuken, the largest e-commerce site in Japan and one of the world’s largest online retailers, the average Valentine’s Day spend here in the UK is much higher at £119. This will include more expensive gifts such as jewellery or lingerie and even gifts such as iPads and luxury watches. In comparison with lovers from Japan, we are rather mean, however. The average spend there is an impressive £173, according to Ratuken. In Europe, Spanish couples seem to be the most generous, spending £151. The French, surprisingly perhaps, are no more extravagant on the most romantic of days than we are, spending an identical £119. The meanest? German lovers spend the least at just £59 per person and the Italians just a little more at £62. Germany’s unimpressive figure is probably accounted for by the fact that 31 per cent of Germans confess to regularly forgetting all about Valentine’s Day.
And we don’t just spend money on our partners on Valentine’s Day. In the US, 15 per cent of women send themselves flowers, and an incredible $231 million is spent on pets. Here in the UK, sales of lingerie double in the run-up to V Day. Jewellery sales peak on the 8th of February – not surprising, when you think that ten per cent of all marriage proposals happen on Valentine’s Day.
Of course, these figures just cover the gifts. Factor in a romantic candle-lit dinner for two and a night in a posh hotel and you are looking at a much higher sum.
Contrary to popular belief, however, you do not have to take out secured loans in order to afford Valentine’s Day. Ratuken also discovered that a quarter of all French women would rather spend quality time with their partners than receive expensive gifts, and the same is likely to be true for many British women. If you are looking for a romantic gift this Valentine’s Day that will not involve taking out homeowner loans, why not opt for a personal, thoughtful and home-made solution? An old-fashioned love letter left on your partner’s pillow, telling them just how special they are to you. A romantic candle-lit supper, a long walk in the countryside, a bath together with candles and rose petals scattered in and around the bath, a massage with beautifully scented oils. If you would like a meal out but cannot afford an expensive restaurant, how about a pub lunch or tea and cakes in a cosy tearoom? There are no rules to say that you have to follow the conventional route of flowers, chocolates and an expensive meal out on Valentine’s Day. In fact, the day will seem much more romantic if you do not follow the herd. Surprise your loved one this Valentine’s Day. It really is the love you show for one another that counts and not the amount of money you spend.
Photo of hearts for Valentines Day courtesy of Shutterstock