LONDON, January 19, 2015 /PRNewswire/ --
Money still won't buy it, but our love lives tell us more about the UK's economic outlook than we might think, according to a new study.
Research from relationship site eHarmony.co.uk measured 'interest in dating' over the past decade using three measures - Google search data for relevant terms used by both singles and couples, including 'online dating' and 'romantic restaurant', social media mentions of these terms, and eHarmony.co.uk traffic. These were combined to create the 'Lovedex', measuring daily dating interest on a scale from 0 to 100, with an average day scoring 28.
The results were plotted against other established measures and events over the past decade - including economic factors like GDP, sporting events, and popular culture events such as the Royal engagement.
One revelation was the strong correlation between love and the economy, with dating interest tending to spike three months in advance of economic growth.
Interest in dating began to decline in the first quarter of 2008, followed by a fall in GDP in the second quarter. As interest in dating began to recover in Q1 2009, GDP increased three months later.
Aside from GDP, other factors such as employment and income also positively correlated. During the five most romantic weeks of 2014, when the Lovedex was at its highest, the FTSE 100 averaged weekly gains of 71 points.
The Lovedex was also used to track popular culture events against dating levels, and revealed that high-profile engagements and weddings reflect our interest in love. In particular, the engagement of Prince William and Kate in November 2010 saw the Lovedex increase by a staggering 15% compared to the yearly average.
However, major sporting events generally cause a dating dip whilst men are preoccupied with watching games rather than thinking about their love lives. During the Olympics, dating activity fell to an average of 24 on the Lovedex, 12% lower than average. However on weekends following the Olympics' close, dating bounced back to 36, 32% above average. Last year's World Cup had a similar effect as the Lovedex fell to just 26.
eHarmony.co.uk Managing Director Romain Bertrand said: "While money can't buy love it seems dating is a strong indicator for economic growth, and with consumer confidence comes relationship confidence.
"Following the trends we've seen over the past decade, we're likely to see a spike in the eHarmony Lovedex around the birth of the Royal baby in April. Plus, after the Rugby World Cup ends in October, we're likely to see a boom. All in all, 2015 is going to be an exciting year for those looking for love."
Notes to editors:
The Future Foundation built the eHarmony 'Lovedex' index from three main sources: Google Trends search trends data relating to love and dating, social media 'buzz' about dating, and eHarmony registrations data. Each source was used to build a sub-index, and the three sub-indexes are averaged, with equal weight given to each, to create the overall eHarmony 'Lovedex' index. Our overall Lovedex index is thus intended to track activity in terms of 'thinking about dating' and actually going out on dates, in roughly equal measure.
1. They were the weeks commencing 31/12/2012, 11/02/2013, 10/02/2014, 13/02/2012 and 30/12/2013.