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UK Singles Spend £4bn a Year on Dates

Wednesday June 3, 2015

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According to one analysis, daters in the UK are the most romantic in Europe. Another reading would have it that we rely too heavily on money to pave the way to dating success. Either way, UK daters spend almost three times more than their European counterparts over the whole dating process.

The numbers alone are staggering. Including pre-date purchases such as clothing and makeup, the Italians – our closest rivals – spend £43 per date, the French £31 and surprisingly the Germans just £39. In contrast, daters in the UK spend a whopping £120 per date.

Karl Gregory, managing director of Match.com UK & Ireland, puts it down to the huge growth in mobile dating increasing the number of potential partners available to daters and thus increasing competition. But given there isn’t a similar 3X larger user base of dating apps in the UK this is perhaps an optimistic reading.

Cost is obviously a factor, particularly in London where the ratio of single folk per capita is the highest in the country. But what exactly are we spending the money on?

It seems that most spending is on the date itself. Nationally we spend around £2.2bn per year on bars, restaurants and pubs followed by around £1.3bn on what’s been called ‘date bait’ - things such as clothes, cosmetics, haircuts and pre-date gifts. Even transport gets a look in with just under £350, 000 spent travelling to and from dates. The estimated total benefit to the economy is said to be in the region of £4bn with the average UK singleton spending £1300 on dating per year.

Whether you follow the ‘most romantic daters’ line or a more cynical approach, the industry is without doubt growing significantly. Notwithstanding outliers, £120 per date is a large amount of money to spend on such a potentially risky pursuit.

And now we get to my personal bias. I say, be frugal and look after your money. Come to one of our events and you could spend a sixth of that amount having up to twenty dates (or 100 at our Summer in the City party). Granted they only last four minutes but that’s plenty of time to work out whether you like someone. And if you don’t it’s not too long to be stuck in their company.

Just don’t do what a good friend of mine did a few years ago. After getting a rather healthy bonus from work, he persuaded a potential partner that a trip to Madrid was just the thing for their second date.

Their first date had been a rather drunken affair somewhat skewing their combined recollection of the evening. Let’s just say that in the cold light of a sober weekend they quickly discovered they had very little in common. Total cost for date number two? £1340.

Do your bit to help your finances and check out our events here.

WORDS BY JOHN DAVIS