According to the old adage, love is not a commodity which can be purchased – but ahead of Valentine’s day, new research from Mintel reveals that money can, in fact, buy you love. Today, a lonely 7% of the nation* have never fallen in love, but this rises to 17% of those with an income under £9,500 and decreases to just 4% of those with an income of over £50,000.

Indeed, the propensity to have never fallen in love decreases incrementally with income bracket – with 9% with an income of £9,500 – £15,499 claiming this, this declines to 7% with an income of £15,500 – £24,999, and just 5% with an income of £25,000 – £49,999. Furthermore, those with an income of over £50,000 were also most likely to have fallen in love five times or more during their lifetime, at 11% compared with an average of 8%.

Richard Cope, Senior Trends Analyst at Mintel, said:

“The fact that our research shows that money is equated with success in love is interesting because more of us are actually paying for dating services that promise to help us find it. Quite simply more money may equate to more social opportunities… and as a result more partners. We’re having more sexual and romantic partners during our lifetimes for a number of reasons. Connectivity has increased our availability, whilst taboos are breaking down. Amongst the young, celebrity culture has made whirlwind romances something to aspire to, and break-ups nothing to be ashamed of. We’re also seeing a new generation of sexually active seniors – liberated by Viagra and a social acceptance of divorce – coming back on to the market.”

Indeed, for those looking for love, using a free dating website tops the list of actions taken – some three in ten (28%) Brits** have looked for love in this way – and for the first time this year this method has now drawn level with meeting through friends in first place – at 28%. The remaining top five ways to meet someone in 2014 are: paid dating sites (12%), meeting someone at work (12% – down from 16% in 2013) and going to more events (such as art galleries and museums) at 10%. If you’re a straight man in search of love this Valentine’s Day, galleries and museums might be the way to find it – as women are more than twice as likely to choose this option (15% versus 7%).

“We’re seeing consumers increasingly looking at dating sites as services worth paying for and a number of factors are going to increase our dependence on systems rather than serendipity. We’re less likely to look to meet someone at work, purely because the very concept of ‘work’ as a fixed geographic location is itself in decline, with increasing numbers of us working independently or at home, whilst we’re being reared on the notion of our own individuality and the belief that we need tools and filters to find other like-minded individuals, rather than put our faith in supposedly hokey old adages like ‘opposites attract’.” Richard adds.

Today, some 26% of men in a relationship claim that Valentine’s Day is a great opportunity to show how I feel about my partner – compared to 19% of women***. Furthermore, 26% of men in a relationship say they make sure they do something special with their partner compared to 23% of women.And it seems the majority of Brits today have one true love – with Mintel’s research revealing Britons have fallen in love just once (26%) or twice (24%). But 15% have fallen in love four times or more. And if you are looking for one true love, look no further than the North West, as 29% of consumers there say they have only fallen in love with one person – compared with 24% in London and just 19% in Yorkshire and Humberside.

London is the nation’s most romantic region, with 29% of those in a relationship there claiming Valentine’s Day is a ‘great opportunity to show my partner how I feel”, compared to 27% in the East and West Midlands, 22% in the South East and East Anglia and 21% in the North and Scotland. In contrast to the fact that they are most likely to have one true love – those in a relationship in the North West are also least likely to claim Valentine’s Day is a great opportunity to show their partner how they feel – at just 15%. Londoners are also most likely to treat their loved ones – with 33% saying they make sure they do something special with their partner – against an average of 25%.

“It’s probable that people living in highly urbanised, time-pressured areas like London see Valentine’s Day as a great opportunity to schedule affection and show their partner that they care, whilst in other parts of the country people may feel more relaxed and able to demonstrate their feelings on more regular, everyday basis.” Richard continues.

But if you’re not feeling the love this Valentine’s, you’re not alone – 16% of today’s singles**** often feel disappointed by Valentine’s day… as do 6% of those in a relationship. However, over one in 10 (13%) single Brits admit “Valentine’s Day doesn’t matter but I don’t mean it” – rising to 15% of women, 17% of 16-34 year olds and 18% of Londoners. One in ten (9%) singles admit it makes them feel under pressure to find a date or ask someone out. When it comes to the big day, there remains a large group of cynics, with nearly half (48%) of those in a relationship claiming it is just an opportunity for companies to make money, while 14% of all Brits in a relationship admit that Valentine’s Day makes them feel under pressure.

For one in ten (11%) single Brits – the big day is a bit of a non event, as this group admit they often forget about it. In contrast, the spirit is strong for as many as 25% of all Brits in a relationship who make sure they do something special with their partner. Around the same number (22%) feel that it is a great opportunity to do something special with their partner.

And finally, despite the hype, there may be hope for the over one in ten (11%) Brits in a relationship who say they often forget about Valentine’s day – as just 3% in a relationship say that they judge their partner by the amount of effort they put in on Valentine’s Day.

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