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Brits spend more than £100 per year on apologies

Brits spend more than £100 per year on apologies

Category: Vouchers

Updated: 18/11/2016
First Published: 18/11/2016

This article was correct at the time of publication. It is now over 6 months old so the content may be out of date.

There is no better way to say you're sorry than by buying a gift, at least that's what we're generally told, though mostly by advertisers. However, this easing of conscience can rack up quite the price tag, with an average of £111 per year being spent on apologising.

That is according to a study conducted by, which found that 62% of Brits admit to giving a gift to someone because they felt guilty or wanted to say sorry. The most popular tokens of atonement are flowers (51%), chocolates (37%) and a personal item (31%), which over a year can add up to quite a spend, depending on how guilty you feel. That is possibly why so many vouchers offer discounts on flowers and chocolates, because these retailers know people may need their services unexpectedly.

The reasons for saying sorry can vary wildly, from missing a birthday to making an upsetting remark. One of the top guilt-creators is social events, with 26% of Brits overspending on gifts for an occasion they were unable to attend, up to a staggering £70 more per event than they would have otherwise spent.

While we'd like to think this spending is all about benefiting the other, 64% of respondents admitted to giving a gift to make themselves feel better, and most (69%) believe that an offering makes the recipient more likely to excuse them, showing that we want forgiveness as much as we want to make the other feel better. A further 35% even believe that showering the beneficiary with material things makes them look less guilty, with an equal amount believing that a gift will help improve the situation and 31% simply want the other person to pardon them. Guilt really can be a powerful motivator.

Apology presents are most commonly bought for partners (58%) and friends (55%), which is not surprising given how many interactions we have to navigate with these people and how much their opinion of us tends to matter. However, more than a third (34%) of Brits have given their parents or children (20%) a token when asking for forgiveness, and people have also splashed their cash when making amends with colleagues (13%) and neighbours (6%).

Natasha Rachel Smith, Consumer Affairs editor for, said: "Having to apologise can be hard and often people look to gifts and cards in the hope these will say what they can't. However, we were surprised to find Brits are spending such a high figure on these pleas for forgiveness. More often than not, a heartfelt apology or making a nice meal can go a long way."

When we think of a rainy-day fund, we are often more concerned about physical things breaking down, such as cars or boilers, but the threat of a relationship breaking down can be just as damaging to our well-being. It can therefore be a good idea to keep some money in an easy access savings account, so that if you do need to apologise, at least you will have the funds ready to do so.

Disclaimer: Information is correct as of the date of publication (shown at the top of this article). Any products featured may be withdrawn by their provider or changed at any time.