Close this search box.

UK shoppers look for “l’amour for less” as they push Valentine’s Day spending on to pets

UK shoppers are adopting a more cost-conscious approach to Valentine’s Day this year, including prioritising spending on pets over partners and agreeing a ‘no-present pact’ with loved ones.

A quarter (23 per cent) of the UK shoppers who plan to celebrate Valentine’s Day say they’ll spend less this year than they did last year, because of the cost-of-living squeeze. On average, those cutting back will reduce their spending by £51.

While the vast majority (89 per cent) of those marking the occasion are doing so with a romantic partner, one in eight (13 per cent) is celebrating their platonic relationships instead, such as pets, friends, colleagues, or parents.

Insights are taken from Barclays’ monthly Consumer Spending Index, which combines data collected from hundreds of millions of transactions with consumer research to provide an in-depth analysis of UK spending.

  1. ‘No-present pacts’

To cut costs without disappointing loved ones, 16 per cent of couples have agreed a spending limit on gifts in advance. Meanwhile, nearly one in six (15 per cent) has taken it one step further by making a ‘no present pact’ with their partner, avoiding gifts altogether, and focusing more on experiences.

  • Pugs and kisses

Despite cutting costs in other aspects of Valentine’s Day, over a quarter of pet owners (27 per cent) will be spoiling their furry friends this year, with those doing so spending an average of £87 – £15 more than the average total spend across everyone celebrating (£72). The data shows that over a third (35 per cent) admit that they intend to spend more money on their pet than their partner!

Food is the most popular gift Brits are buying their pets this Valentine’s Day (57 per cent), followed by toys (44 per cent) and clothing or accessories (29 per cent). 

  • Romantic nights in

Almost half of those celebrating on February 14th (47 per cent) are marking the occasion with an at-home experience (or ‘insperience’) – e.g., making a home-cooked meal, ordering a takeaway or streaming a film or TV show. This includes one in four (26 per cent) who say that concerns over rising costs are the reason why they’ve chosen to stay in rather than go out.

  • Switch and save

Despite the cost-of-living squeeze, one in three (31 per cent) marking Valentine’s Day is still planning a night out with their date, most commonly dining out at a restaurant (27 per cent). However, one in 10 (10 per cent) is choosing a lower cost restaurant than in previous years, and one in 12 (8 per cent) will save money by celebrating Valentine’s Day on a different day altogether, likely to avoid set menus which can be more expensive.

  • Discount dates

As budgets remain tight, over one in ten (11 per cent) say they simply can’t afford to spend as much this year. As a result, one in 10 (10 per cent) is using voucher or deal websites to save money on purchases, and a similar proportion (10 per cent) is buying their flowers from the supermarket instead of a florist. Even so, florists are still expected to perform well – in 2022, Valentine’s Day spending on florists was 481% higher than the daily average across the full year*.

Adam Lishman, Head of Consumer Products at Barclays, says: “Valentine’s Day is often a time when Brits lavish their loved ones with gifts or treat them to a romantic date night, but with inflation and energy bills continuing to climb, celebrations are likely to be a little different this year.

“Many couples are swapping nights out for homecooked meals in front of the TV, agreeing ‘no present pacts’ with their partner, or buying flowers from the supermarket instead of a florist – allowing them to keep things feeling special without breaking the bank.”

Read More

Register for Newsletter

Group 4 Copy 3Created with Sketch.

Receive 3 newsletters per week

Group 3Created with Sketch.

Gain access to all Top500 research

Group 4Created with Sketch.

Personalise your experience on