By Marcus Leach

UK’s singles contribute almost £3.4 billion annually to the UK economy in their pursuit of love. That’s the finding of the first ever study to calculate the financial impact dating makes to the UK economy.

The figures have been released by match, the company behind dating and relationship sites match.com and matchaffinity.com as part of its annual LoveGeist study.

The figures were calculated following a poll of daters in some of the UKs biggest regions and cities and supplemented by economic analysis from the Centre of Economic Business Research (Cebr).

The research found that 37 million dates take place each year and on average each dater spends £47 per date. Many sectors benefit directly from dating, with a total of almost £1.3bn spent on date entertainment, bars and restaurants, and just under £1bn on new date clothing.

Other sectors getting a boost include the transport industry, which benefits to the tune of £420m per year. The average dater also spends just over £100 every year at the hairdresser when specifically preparing for a date, giving salons up and down the country a cash injection of £324m.

“This is the first time dating spend has been analysed by sector and it’s impressive to see the huge knock-on benefit to the wider economy — especially at a time when every penny counts," Karl Gregory, UK Managing Director, match.com, said.

"Dating is a major contributor to the UK economy and the growth in popularity of online dating has played a massive role in stimulating this: we know that 1 in 3 singles have looked for a relationship online2, making sites like match.com and matchaffinity.com the start of the journey for many people looking for love.”

Shehan Mohamed, senior analyst, Centre of Economic Business Research, said the research shows how important dating is to the economy.

“The research shows that dating provides a multi-billion pound windfall for the UK, directly benefiting a range of industries like retail, food & drink and entertainment," she said.

"With over 10,000 dates taking place every day, the dating economy provides some comfort to high street businesses at a time of weak consumer spending.”

Gregory concluded that online dating has become the latest phenomenon in the dating world.

"In the last 10 years we’ve seen online dating gather serious momentum and it’s now the third most popular way to find a partner at just a couple of percentage points behind bars and clubs and meeting through friends," he said.

"People are attracted to online dating because they know it works and as we open up new ways for people to meet online — such as smartphone apps — we expect our role in stimulating the dating economy to grow even further."

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