Brits have spent 'significantly more' on dating sites since the start of 2021

As lockdown finally starts to ease and we get our first tastes of freedom, many of us are looking to start a new relationship.

Maybe it’s the increased isolation of the pandemic, but more people than ever are investing their money into online dating sites and apps – suggesting they are serious about finding ‘the one’.

It isn’t only our love lives that we’re spending more on either. Households ramped up their spending on pets and gardening at the start of this year too, according to data from a building society.

Nationwide Building Society said that, overall, household spending in the first three months of 2021 was down compared with a year earlier.

But it said that life in lockdown has led to more money being spent on building relationships with people, pets and plants. Which makes sense after a year of being starved of companionship and largely stuck at home.

Nationwide’s quarterly spending report is based on more than 450 million transactions made by the society’s members between January and March.

The data found that spending on pets was one of the few categories where people were paying more than previously. Overall spending on pets increased by 22% in the first quarter of this year, compared with the same period in 2020.

This growth is likely to be due to people acquiring more animals during lockdown, Nationwide suggested. And there have been studies about people buying pandemic pups.

There was also a significant 53% jump in spending on gardening in January to March this year, it found. And DIY and supermarket spending both increased by 16%. Suggesting that we have all become more house-proud after spending so much time within the same four walls.

There was also a significant rise in online dating spending in the first three months of 2021, as people looked for love after lockdown.

The number of transactions in this category increased by 46% year on year, while total spending was up by more than a third (34%).

The average amount spent per transaction on travel meanwhile was £7.86 at the start of 2021, compared with £10.77 a year ago.

‘Life in lockdown has taught us that our connections are extremely important,’ says Mark Nalder, Nationwide’s head of payments. ‘Many of us have invested our time in our families, gardens and pets, while others are keen to embrace the relaxing of restrictions as they look to start new relationships after a long period of time alone.

‘This equates to where we are spending our money and likely the reason why such areas have seen spend grow rather than shrink in line with general essential and discretionary costs.’

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