Mapped: The UK's kinkiest and most romantic places

Here at Quidco, we’re interested in answering the UK’s most pressing questions. That’s why, in the run-up to Valentine’s Day, we’ve decided to set out to find an answer to two age-old debates.       

1). Where are the UK’s most romantic towns and regions?
And 2.) Where are the UK’s kinkiest towns and regions?

It is, after all, the time of year for love. And it’s about time the people got an answer.

The study

Quidco partners with over 4,500 retailers, many of whom sell romantic gifts, and some of whom sell kinky products. We wanted to look at the percentage of the nine million Quidco members who are buying these products in different cities, towns and regions across the UK (excluding Northern Ireland). 

What retailers did we use to determine romance and kinkiness? Well, when it came to romance, we wanted to cover Valentine’s gifts across the board. We’re talking chocolates, flowers, cards and jewellery. That’s why we opted for February 14th favourites such as Hotel Chocolat, Thorntons, Moonpig, Interflora, Eflorist, H. Samuel and last but not least, Swarovski. Over 2018, a huge 64,934 romantic Quidco customers shopped at these retailers (and earned some sweet cashback on their purchases).

As for kinkiness, we delved into retailers such as Ann Summers, Love Honey and Fig Leaves. Although fewer Quidcoers shopped at these kinky merchants than did at the romantic sites, there were still just over 9,500 users buying from these adult retailers in 2018.

In order to find which cities, towns and regions were the most romantic or kinky, we took the total Quidco members living in that area and then found the percentage of those users who were buying romantic gifts or kinky items. To give you an example, the number of Quidco members in the Scottish city of Aberdeen is 5,722. Of those users, 644 bought at least one romantic item in 2018. Therefore, 11.25% of total Quidco members in Aberdeen have romance on their mind.

The results

The most romantic town or city in the UK is… Stevenage. Yep. The town situated around 30 miles north of London has the proportionally largest number of residents who buy from our romantic retailers. Of the 5,210 Quidco members who live in Stevenage, 12.15% are buying romantic items. Residents of Stevenage are particularly keen on the gift of chocolate, as retailers Hotel Chocolat and Thorntons tend to go down well with them.

Now for the really interesting stuff. The kinkiest town in the UK is… Kirkwall. Who knew? For those who aren’t aware, Kirkwall is the capital of the Orkney Islands, an archipelago north of Scotland — so it’s at the very tippy top of the British Isles. And that’s right, it’s the kinkiest place in the UK. The population  of Kirkwall is around 10,000 people. 758 are Quidco members. 2.24% of these members shopped for at least one kinky product through one of Quidco’s partnered adult retailers. That may not seem like a lot, but remember that it’s a niche market and consider that it’s almost double the national average of people buying kinky products: 1.35%. It’s also nearly three times the number of the least kinky town in the UK.

Which is… Sunderland. The north east city of Sunderland turned out to be the least kinky in the UK. Sunderland is home to 2,300 Quidco users, with only 0.79% of whom shopping for adult retailers. It doesn’t stop there. Sunderland is also the least romantic city in the UK, according to the study. Just 7.35% of Quidco members in Sunderland were shopping for romantic products. Compare that to the likes of Chelmsford, Essex, where 12.04% of members had romance on their shopping list. So, advice for anyone looking for love: maybe give Sunderland a miss.

Romantic towns UK
Kinky towns graphic

When it came to romance, the towns and cities of England’s South East absolutely smashed it. Of the top ten most romantic cities, all but one (which was Aberdeen) were located in the South. Despite this, inner London trailed behind the rest of the UK for romance, coming in at the bottom 10. Londoners are pretty adverse to romantic gift buying, so it seems.

Overall, the study found that most of the UK’s kinky areas are not the big, cosmopolitan cities. They’re more likely to be found in the more quiet corners of the UK, usually near the coast. Why this is, we do not know. Some may argue that there is less to do in these towns, so its residents take to the bedroom for entertainment. But we couldn’t possibly make such an assertion. What’s more, the two kinkiest towns — Kirkwall and Dumfries — are located in Scotland. Does this mean that the Scots are more likely to spend money on adult products than their southern neighbours?

No, they’re not, it turns out. We dove deeper into the stats to find out which of the UK’s broader regions (again, excluding Northern Ireland) were the kinkiest. While Scotland was the third-most kinky region, it lost out to East Anglia in first place and the South West in second. Of the 83,614 Quidco members in the East Anglia region, 1,266 of them were shopping for kinky items — that’s 1.5%.

To conclude, if you’re looking for a bit of romance this Valentine’s Day, the towns and cities in the south of England are your best bet. From research into our own customers, we’ve found that those in the South are more likely to buy from romantic retailers. This is not the case, however, if you’re looking for people to help you spice up things in the bedroom. If this is what you’re after, stay out of the big cities and head to the UK’s smaller towns.

The top tens

The UK’s kinkiest places
Town/city Percentage of kinky Quidco users 
Kirkwall 2.24%
Dumfries 2.01%
Hemel Hempstead 1.87%
Dorchester 1.82%
Truro 1.82%
Norwich 1.79%
Kilmarnock 1.76%
Southend-on-Sea 1.76%
Aberdeen 1.70%
St Albans 1.69%
The UK’s most romantic places
Town/city Percentage of romanitc Quidco users 
Stevenage 12.15%
Chelmsford 12.04%
Southend-on-Sea 11.67%
Sutton 11.45%
Redhill 11.41%
Kingston upon Thames 11.41%
Guildford 11.33%
Aberdeen 11.25%
Rochester 11.21%
Hemel Hempstead 11.11%
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