Brits Spend £1.1 Billion Dressing to Impress on a First Date

  • Personality and manners are the most important factors for Millennials looking for love
  • Good personal hygiene is top of the ‘must have’ dating list for Generation Xers
February 13, 2019

From clothes and shoes to haircuts and aftershave, new research from American Express (NYSE: AXP) has revealed how much Brits spend on dating(1). One in five (20%) Brits have been on at least one first date in the past year and are prepared to splash out an average of £107 on getting ready for a date, equating to more than £1.1 billion being spent across the nation(2).

The study found that when it comes to finding true love, personality rather than looks is most important to Millennials. Just over a third (37%) of 18 - 34 year olds would ditch a date because of a personality mismatch, and 31% would call it a day if there wasn’t that special spark.

Despite a focus on personality, Millennials are prepared to spend the most to look their best before a romantic encounter. They splash out an average of £121 each. This includes £36 on the perfect outfit, £20 on a new hairdo and £20 on beauty treatments.

Personal hygiene is the most important consideration for Generation Xers. Just over a third (35%) aged 35 to 54 said poor hygiene was the main reason a first date wouldn’t lead to a second.

Baby Boomers would spend the least on a first date, at £62 each. Their pre-date prep list includes £22 on new clothes and £11 on a haircut.  

When it comes to spending money during the date, Brits are more cost conscious, with the average first date bill estimated to come in at £41 per person. Generation Xers spend the most on a first date at £52 while Millennials are more inclined to watch the pennies, spending an average £36 per person.

Stephen Steinhardt, Director at American Express, says: “With Valentine’s Day approaching, costs can add up, so while you’re looking for the one make sure you don’t fall out of love with your finances. It’s a good idea to put the cost of a date on a card that gives you rewards when you spend. This way, you’ll be able to pay for a celebratory treat with the cashback or rewards that you’ve earned when you finally meet that special someone.” 

Top tips for a first date:

  1. Be on time – It’s important to make a good first impression on a first date, arriving late can ruin it for you before it’s even begun. Be sure to arrive on time, or even a few minutes early so you aren’t leaving your date waiting.
  2. Relax – Nerves can get the best of even the most confident people on a first date. However, it’s important to stay calm, be yourself and remember that your date is probably just as nervous as you are. Try to enjoy yourself and focus on getting to know this new person.
  3. Double date – Dating as a duo can help you to chill out and be yourself. It will take the pressure off from just you and your date and help you to get to know each other as friends.
  4. Treat yourself – Buying a new outfit or treating yourself to a new hairdo can help you to feel your best for your date. It can be the perfect way to make sure you’re feeling confident. Be sure to put the cost of your confidence-boosting item on a card that earns you cashback, such as The American Express Platinum Cashback Card which gives you 5% cashback on all purchases in the first three months of Cardmembership(3).
  5. Do an activity – Find something you both like doing. Whether it’s dancing, tennis or visiting a museum. A fun activity can help to break the ice and give you common ground to discuss.

American Express is a globally integrated payments company, providing customers with access to products, insights and experiences that enrich lives and build business success.  Learn more at and connect with us on,,,, and

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(1) Omnibus research was conducted by Opinium, 2,009 adults were surveyed between 22 and 24 January 2019

Age groups defined as:

- Millennials: 18- 34 year olds
- Generation X: 35-54 year olds
- Baby Boomers 55+ year olds

Definitions taken from an Inntel report

(2) There are 52,078,525 adults currently living in the UK (ONS). 20% of UK adults have been on a first date in the past twelve months, so 20% of 52,078,525 = 10,415,705. UK adults who are going on at least one date per year would spend £106.90 on average getting ready. £106.90 x 10,415,705 = £ 1,113,438,864.5

(3) American Express Platinum Cashback Everyday Credit Cardmembers can get 5% cashback on purchases up to £100 in their first three months of Cardmembership. For more information T&Cs or to apply for an American Express Credit Card visit:

Potential cashback per annual spend can be calculated with the American Express Cashback Calculator, available here:

Media Contact

Parmjit Dhillon
+44 (0) 1273-216-674

About American Express

American Express is a globally integrated payments company, providing customers with access to products, insights and experiences that enrich lives and build business success. Learn more at, and connect with us on,,,, and

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