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Spending on dating websites, pets and gardening ‘jumped at start of 2021’

Vicky Shaw, PA Personal Finance Correspondent
·2-min read

Households ramped up their spending on dating websites, pets and gardening at the start of this year, according to Britain’s biggest 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.

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

Spending on pets was among the categories bucking the downward spending trend, according to Nationwide’s data.

Spending on gardening jumped by 53%, Nationwide Building Society said (Vicky Shaw/PA)
Spending on gardening jumped by 53%, Nationwide Building Society said (Vicky Shaw/PA)

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.

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%.

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.

Mark Nalder, Nationwide’s head of payments, said: “Life in lockdown has taught us that our connections are extremely important.

“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.”