UK markets open in 7 hours 28 minutes

Leap year proposals could add £50m to the UK economy in 2020

Many of those in a relationship plan to propose to their partners on 29 February. (Kreated Media/Unsplash)

The tradition of women proposing to men on a leap day could boost the economy by almost £50m ($65m) this year, according to new study.

In a survey of over 2,000 women by savings site VoucherCodes, 3% said they would consider proposing to their other half. A little over one in 10 of those said that they’d do it specifically because it’s a leap year (12%), meaning there could be as many as 25,784 women getting down on one knee on 29 February.

But, it’s not just the happy couple that would reap the benefits. If all those who are considering proposing take the plunge on 29 February, the UK economy could see a boost of up to £48.2m based on how much the average couple plans to spend on engagement rings alone – £1,871 per ring.

Read more: Brides-to-be are buying their own engagement rings

Despite the uptake in the longstanding tradition, many women believe that they should be free to propose to their male partner whenever they feel the time is right. Three in 10 (58%) of those who say they’d propose would not wait for 29 February.

Many men are also keen on the idea of being proposed to by their girlfriend, with over a third (35%) saying that it would take the pressure off them having to do the asking.

However, 12% would still consider it to be “emasculating,” while 11% would be disappointed if they were asked by their partner – but only because they wanted to be the one to get down on one knee.

Read more: Low to take care of your engagement ring, according to an expert

Professor Joshua Bamfield, director of the Centre for Retail Research, said: “In the modern world, when so many other traditions have been abandoned without much regret, it is surprising that 97 times out of 100 the male is the one expected to ask his partner for her hand in marriage.

“In fact, VoucherCodes’ research shows that this tradition is not universally popular. 12% of males faced by a woman popping the question would breathe a sigh of relief, although 11% would be disappointed as these men are keen to observe the old traditions. 

“On top of the boost from the sale of engagement rings, considering the number of marriages each year in the UK, a further £95m could be spent on wedding days resulting from female proposals this leap year.”