Popping the £48m question: Up to 26,000 women consider proposing to their partner on February 29

With the tradition of women proposing to men on a leap day dating back to the fifth century, this year could see those proposals generating a boost to the economy of almost £50 million, according to new research.

Friday, 28th February 2020, 12:07 pm
Picture posed by models.

The study from leading savings site VoucherCodes.co.uk asked heterosexual single women whether they would ever consider proposing to their other half.

With 3% saying that they would (2% in Scotland), and a little over one in ten of those stating that they’d do it specifically because it’s a leap year (12%), this means there could be as many as 25,784 women getting down on one knee on February 29.

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

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. 51% of those in Scotland who say they’d propose would not wait for February 29 to come around.

Top five reasons British women give for wanting to propose:

1 Because we are equal, and I should be able to if I want to - 51%

2 If I was fed up of waiting for him to ask me - 22%

3 To take the pressure off my partner - 14%

4 If it was a leap year - 12%

5 Because it is empowering - 16%

Many men are also keen on the idea of being proposed to by their girlfriend, with more than a third in Scotland (36%) admitting that it would take the pressure off them having to do the asking.

However, 9% would still consider it to be emasculating, while 6% 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.

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. 36% of males in Scotland faced by a woman popping the question would breathe a sigh of relief, although 6% 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 £95 million could be spent on wedding days resulting from female proposals this leap year.”