We all love a bit of romance, but there has been a lot of change in the dating landscape in the past 10 or so years. From the reintroduction of trends such as dating events to the surge in dating apps and meeting on social media - the way we Brits try to find ‘the one’ is forever evolving.
With this in mind, our team has put together the ultimate Velloy Dating Index, surveying 2,000 British singletons and 2,000 Brits in relationships, to give a behind-the-curtain (or under-the-sheets) look into how we are dating in 2024. Looking into those age-old questions on dating, including the UK’s biggest “icks”, the impact of height in the dating world, horoscopes, the cost of finding the one, the popularity of Valentine’s Day age gaps, occupational sways and more - our index has taken a broad look into dating habits and trends among us Brits this year.
Firstly, let's dive into what we discovered at first glance:
The 2024 Dating Index: Statistics at a Glance
The True Cost of Dating and the Cost of Dating Crisis
As we welcome the new year, many of us continue to navigate the challenges posed by the cost of living crisis, which now extends into the realm of dating. As part of our study, we have looked into the average cost of dating in 2024 and ultimately if the financial strain among the UK public is causing more singletons to be frugal when it comes to finding ‘the one’.
Another part of our research into British dating looks at the true cost of dating - asking ourselves, how much does it actually cost to find ‘the one’? We asked those in relationships how many dates it took them to make it official and the number of people they dated before finding their significant other. This information, combined with the average cost of a date in 2024, gives us an approximate figure for the cost of love, and, unfortunately, it’s a pretty penny. According to our findings, on average it will cost Brits £1,900 to find the person they want to settle down with, including £400 in dates with their chosen partner, before making it official.
Going Dutch and Dutch Courage?
The debate over who should pay on a first date remains a hot topic in Britain. Opinions are split, reflecting the ongoing conversation about financial responsibilities in dating. It appears from our research that in 2024, while two-fifths (40%) of Brits are choosing to split the bill, nearly a third (30%) are still expecting their date to pay for them
While the concept of 'going Dutch' seems to be popular amongst Brits, so is the tradition of ‘Dutch courage’ – using alcohol to calm first-date jitters. In fact, more than a fifth (22%) of those surveyed feel like they must have an alcoholic drink before a date, with a quarter (25%) stating that doing so makes them feel more confident. Despite this, it’s clear sobriety is on the rise, with the majority (59%) of Brits confirming they would consider sober dating.
Differences From Gen Z to Boomers and Across Genders
For the younger millennials and Gen Zs, it’s clear dating is a whirlwind of activity and adventure. Our studies discovered that those aged between 18 and 35 tend to spend less money on dates in 2024, but make up for it in volume, going on more dates per month compared to any other generation. They're also the most likely to be found at dating events, and a pre-date drink is more the norm than the exception for this age group.
In comparison, those older millennials and Gen X Brits show a clear penchant for classic dinner dates. In this group, financial expectations shift, with singletons between 35-54 having a higher likelihood of expecting the date to pay. Also notable is their more serious consideration of sober dating, perhaps reflecting a more mature approach to romance.
As for the seasoned hearts in the 55+ category, they approach dating with a more conservative wallet and a less frequent presence at dating events. This group is also less likely to indulge in a pre-date drink, and nearly two-thirds (60%) would consider sober dating, only 6% less than 18-34-year-olds.
Gender differences also reveal an interesting dynamic: men were found to be the primary bill-payers on dates, while women frequently rely on 'Dutch courage' to navigate through them.
Let’s take a deeper look at these age and gender differences in dating:
Dating Across Cities
Each city paints a romantic picture in the cityscape of British dating. Plymouth was found to be home to the most romantics, with singletons going on an average of three dates a month, whilst Edinburgh came top for the highest amount spent on first dates, with Scots splashing out an average of £60 per date.
Although dating habits appear to vary city by city, it's clear we Brits have a go-to first date agenda, with people in nearly every city across the country opting to head to a restaurant for a first date. Singletons in Cardiff were found to be the only Brits thinking differently with the majority of people in the Welsh capital preferring the more relaxed setting of a bar/pub.
Valentine's Plans for 2024? Saying goodbye to the season of love
Last but not least, we, of course, had to find out how Brits are celebrating the national day of love this February 14th. Speaking to those in relationships, as well as some in situationships, it’s clear that 2024 will not be the year for extravagant gestures such as 100 red roses and giant teddy bears.
Our findings were quite shocking, revealing that the majority of couples out there will not be celebrating Valentine’s Day this year, with just half of Brits in a relationship confirming they will be celebrating the occasion. In fact, it was found that 9% fewer Brits plan to celebrate this year compared to last year.
Although it's clear that as a nation we don't opt for over-the-top displays of affection, it is heartwarming to hear that among those celebrating, nearly half will be celebrating the occasion with a romantic evening in and one in five Brits will be heading out for dinner. Additionally, most people will give their partners chocolates (33%) or flowers (24%). However, less than one in ten (8%) plan on giving their loved ones an additional gift such as jewellery or perfume this Valentine’s Day.
As we come to the end of our tour through the Velloy Dating Index, it's pretty obvious that dating in the UK is as varied as the places and people themselves. And while dating trends come and go, it’s clear that there are more ways than ever before to find the one.
Conculsions: Key Findings for Dating in 2024
In conclusion, the Velloy Dating Index of 2024 reveals a fascinating evolution in UK dating trends. The cost of love is notably high at an average of £1,900 to find 'the one', reflecting the economic challenges of our times.
Meanwhile, digital platforms remain the dominant avenue for meeting dates, showcasing the unrelenting influence of technology in our romantic pursuits. As we navigate these changing dynamics, it's clear that British dating habits continue to adapt, offering a diverse and evolving landscape for those in search of love and companionship.
Here's a roundup of the key facts:
- Rising Cost of Love: The average cost for Brits to find 'the one' in 2024 is a staggering £1,900, a reflection of the economic pressures in the dating scene.
- Splitting Bills Becomes Norm: 40% of Brits now choose to split the bill on dates, indicating a significant shift towards financial equality in dating.
- Sober Dating on the Rise: With 59% of Brits considering sober dating, there's a growing trend towards more health-conscious and authentic dating experiences.
- Generation Gap in Dating Trends: Younger millennials and Gen Z are leading a change in dating culture, with more dates per month but lower spending, compared to the more traditional approach of older generations.
- Digital Love Dominates: A substantial 72% of Brits meet their dates through apps, highlighting the continuing dominance of digital platforms in the modern dating landscape.
- The Gender Dynamics of Dating: Men are more likely to pay on dates, while women are more inclined towards 'Dutch courage', showcasing ongoing gender-based differences in dating habits.
- Regional Romance Variations: Cities like Plymouth and Edinburgh stand out in the dating scene, with the former having the most dates per month and the latter spending the most on dates.
- Valentine’s Day Losing Its Charm?: There's a noticeable decline in Valentine's Day celebrations, with only half of the Brits in relationships planning to celebrate, indicating changing attitudes towards traditional romantic gestures.
- Cost of Living Crisis Affects Dating: Over half of the Brits agree that dating has become too expensive amid the cost of living crisis, impacting how and when they date.