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Synovate survey reveals the true currency of love in four Asian markets


HONG KONG — How we spend our time and money on our partners varies significantly across countries, according to a new survey conducted by Synovate on behalf of SOLVIL et TITUS, a well known watch brand.

This ’Time is Love’ survey explored people’s attitudes toward love, and the role time and money play in a relationship. Synovate surveyed around 1,200 respondents aged 23 to 36 who have at least one relationship experience in Hong Kong, Singapore, China (Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, and Guangzhou), and Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur, Johor, and Penang).

The representation of love

Most respondents in Malaysia (93%), Singapore (91%), China (88%), and Hong Kong (83%) agreed that the more in love they are with their partner, the more time they spend with this special person.

This belief is reflected in their gift giving behaviour. People spend the longest time choosing a gift for their partner in Singapore (5.2 days) and Malaysia (4.8 days), compared to Hong Kong (3.7 days) and China (2.6 days). Across all the markets, women spend more time (4.6 days) then men (3.5 days) in picking out the perfect gift.

However, the occasion when men spend more time than women is, surprisingly, in preparation for their first date. Men, in general, dedicate 56 hours while women spend 40 hours to get ready for a positive first impression.

More than 60% of those surveyed disagree that love fades with time. The majority prefer a steady but long lasting relationship over ones that are short lived but passionate. This was especially true in Malaysia (96%) and Singapore (95%), followed by China (87%) and then Hong Kong (85%).

Money and gifts

People also tend to believe the more they are in love with their partner, the more money they will spend on him/her in China (78%), Singapore (77%), Malaysia (69%), and Hong Kong (64%).

The percentage of income spent on the other half is the highest in China (average spending RMB$851) and Malaysia (average spending RM$394), followed by Hong Kong (average spending HKD$2011), and Singapore (average spending SGD$323).

When asked whether they spend sufficient money on their partners, respondents in all markets show a similar response, with 75% thinking the amount they spend is just right.

Comments Brendan Shair, Managing Director of Synovate in Hong Kong, “This survey is not only an interesting read, but it also has significant business value. For example, we found that men spend more money than women on their other half, much more. It’s a wide range - 130% more in Hong Kong, 125% more in Malaysia, 25% more in Singapore, and 23% more in China. What’s even more interesting, neither gender minds this difference. The majority of males (74%) and females (77%) believe the money they spend on their partner is just right. A company can use insights like these to devise innovative marketing strategies that reach right into the hearts and minds of consumers.”

The amount of money spent on a significant other differs throughout the duration of the relationship. In Hong Kong, people spend the most money (HKD$2375) on their partner at the beginning of a relationship. However, spending peaks between years two and three of relationships in China (RMB$1717) and Singapore (SGD$493). In Malaysia, the amount of money spent on a partner remains constant through the duration of the relationship.

Further demonstrating that time spent together is more important for lovers than money, people think that it is more important to spend enough time choosing a gift than the monetary value of the gift itself. 13% think the time spent in choosing a gift is very important, compared to 6% who believe the same for the dollar value of the gift.

For a long lasting relationship

The study indicates that people who take their time to decide on a relationship are more likely to have a promising, more long lasting relationship. Data shows for those with less than one year of courtship, their relationship lasted on average 2.8 years. While the relationship for those who took more than 7 months to decide lasted on average 4.5 years.

Maintaining a longer honeymoon period also seems to sustain a longer relationship. On average, those with a honeymoon period of three months or less have a length of relationship of 2.2 years. For people who maintain a honeymoon period of 24 months or more, the relationship lasts 5.3 years.

Furthermore, most people agreed that the types of activities they do with their partner are more important than the length of time they have with each other. This is particularly true for those in Hong Kong (76%), Singapore (69%), China (67%) and Malaysia.

The Intricacy of Time, Money, and Love

Regardless of how much money or time is being spent, people often express that the time they spend with their partner is insufficient while the amount of money spent is enough. The proportion of people who indicated that the time spent with their partner is not enough is three times higher than those who think the money spent on their partner is not enough – 49% vs. 18%.

In conclusion, money is no substitute for the time with your other half. More than 83% of respondents across all markets disagree that money can compensate for the time a couple spends together.

About Synovate
Synovate, the market research arm of Aegis Group plc, generates consumer insights that drive competitive marketing solutions. The network provides clients with cohesive global support and a comprehensive suite of research solutions. Synovate employs over 6,700 staff across 62 countries.

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