Romantic dinners, card, flowers and chocolates; how will Britons celebrate Valentine’s Day this year?

9 in 10 Britons say they are happy with their current partner, but are they celebrating Valentine's Day this year?

The author(s)
  • Kelly Beaver MBE Chief Executive, UK and Ireland
Get in touch

Valentine’s Day has long been the cause of debate, in the UK and around the world. A day to celebrate that special someone, or a marketing ploy to encourage consumers to spend their money? In a new global survey by Ipsos, we see who will celebrate the holiday, and how, as well as who won’t and why. 

In Britain, 6 in 10 (59%) people in relationships say they are likely to celebrate Valentine’s Day with their partner this year. While around 4 in 10 (37%) say it is unlikely. Sentiments appear to be similar globally with 55% expecting to celebrate and 39% expecting not to. 

How are Britons celebrating?

Romantic dinners in seem to be the most popular form of celebration this year (43%), significantly more than romantic dinners out (29%) or a romantic trip away (14%). 

A similar proportion (43%) plan on sending Valentine’s Day cards to their other halves, making Britons most likely to do so out of the 28 countries surveyed, on average, 17% of people around the world plan on sending cards. When it comes to giving other things, chocolates or candy (33%) and flowers (31%) are most popular in Britain. One in 5 say they will buy a bottle of wine/liquor (19%) while perfumes (11%), fashion accessories/jewellery (9%) and lingerie/erotic accessories (9%) are significantly less popular. Raising the question; are Brits sentimental or cheap? 

Only a quarter of Britons in relationships who are likely to celebrate plan to make love on Valentine’s Day, lower than the global average of 33%. Those in South Africa (54%), Argentina (46%) and Mexico (45%) are most likely to get-it-on on the day of love. 

Why are people not celebrating?

Almost 4 in 10 (37%) Britons say they are unlikely to celebrate Valentine’s Day with their partners and a significant majority of these people say the holiday is too commercial/a marketing event (69%). 

Other reasons for those not celebrating with their partner include it’s too old-fashioned (17%), it’s not a part of their culture/traditions (13%, 37% around the world), it’s too expensive/they can’t afford it (13%) or they don’t have time (7%). 

Satisfaction with relationships

Whether they are celebrating Valentine’s Day or not, a significant majority of Britons say they are happy in their current relationship with their spouse, domestic partner, fiancé(e), or special friend. Over 9 in 10 (92%) say they are currently satisfied in their relationship, including 66% who say they are very satisfied. 

Kelly Beaver, Chief Executive of Ipsos in the UK, said:

As we approach Valentine’s Day, it is lovely to see so many Britons happy in their current relationships, despite potentially testing times over the last two years. Despite some cynicism among those not celebrating the holiday this year, many will treat their loved ones to cards, romantic dinners, chocolates and flowers to show how much they appreciate them.

About the Study

These are the results of a 28-country survey conducted by Ipsos on its Global Advisor online platform. For the survey, Ipsos interviewed 19,987 adults who are aged 18-74 in the United States, Canada, Malaysia, South Africa, and Turkey, and 16-74 in 23 other markets between December 23, 2021 and January 7, 2022.

The samples consist of approximately 1,000 individuals in each of Australia, Brazil, Canada, China (mainland), France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Japan, Spain, and the U.S., and 500 individuals in each of Argentina, Belgium, Chile, Colombia, Hungary, India, Malaysia, Mexico, the Netherlands, Peru, Poland, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden, and Turkey. 

The samples in Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Poland, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, and the U.S. can be taken as representative of these countries’ general adult population under the age of 75.

The samples in Brazil, Chile, China (mainland), Colombia, India, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa and Turkey are more urban, more educated, and/or more affluent than the general population. The survey results for these countries should be viewed as reflecting the views of the more “connected” segment of their population.

The data is weighted so that each market’s sample composition best reflects the demographic profile of the adult population according to the most recent census data. 

Depending on the question, the results presented in this report are based on:

  • All 12,767 adults surveyed who are currently married, partnered, engaged or involved in a romantic relationship with bases ranging from 282 in Malaysia to 749 in China;
  • The 7,112 among them who say they are likely to celebrate Valentine’s Day; or 
  • The 4,975 who say they are not likely to do so.

Where results do not sum to 100 or the ‘difference’ appears to be +/-1 more/less than the actual, this may be due to rounding, multiple responses or the exclusion of don't knows or not stated responses.

The precision of Ipsos online polls are calculated using a credibility interval with a poll of 1,000 accurate to +/- 3.5 percentage points and of 500 accurate to +/- 4.8 percentage points. For more information on the Ipsos use of credibility intervals, please visit the Ipsos website.

The publication of these findings abides by local rules and regulations.

The author(s)
  • Kelly Beaver MBE Chief Executive, UK and Ireland

More insights about Culture