Are you a 'liar-buyer'?

Article date: 23 February 2006

  • Men hide over £864m worth of shopping from partners every year

British men smuggle £864m worth of shopping pasttheir partners each year and it’s not just high-tech gadgetsthey’re hiding, but pricey designer gear too, a study revealstoday.

While women tend to regularly hide purchases,men leave them far behind in the lie-buying stakes when it comes tothe sheer value of their hidden shopping, says research releasedtoday by Norwich Union, the UK’s biggest insurer.

The average male liar-buyer smuggles a whopping£336 worth of goods past his partner every year, compared with £227of secret spending for women.

Surprisingly it’s not just high techgadgets and sports equipment but clothes that men splurge onsecretly, with over half the male liar-buyers surveyed (53%)admitting to hiding shopping bags full of expensive designer gearfrom their partners.

When asked for the reason behind their expensivelie-buying habits, most of the culprits (34%) said they wereworried their partners would think their purchases were tooexpensive.

Rebecca Holmes from Norwich Union said: "Ourresearch shows that the tables have turned. Men have always accusedwomen of spending too much money on shopping, but now it’sthe men who are hiding their expensive shopping."

However the research shows that women are farfrom blameless when it comes to lie-buying. Nearly a third (29%) ofall the women surveyed by Norwich Union admitted to lying to theirpartner about the real price of a purchase by downplaying its truevalue, while one in five (21%) said they hid their shoppingaltogether.

And while men hide more expensive items, womendo it more often, with one in 10 (10%) admitting to smugglingshopping past their partner at least once a month.

Like men, most of the women surveyed (27%) saidtheir reasons for lie-buying was because their partner thought theyspent far too much money on shopping already.

Psychotherapist Christine Webber commented:"It's slightly worrying that so many couples are lying to eachother about what they buy. Trust is an important part of a healthyrelationship and if people are lying to each other about shopping,goodness knows what other skeletons they're hiding in theirclosets.

"Money is one of most contentious areas inmodern-day relationships, and it's easy to see why. If individualswant to keep their romances intact, they should think twice aboutlie-buying."

And Norwich Union warns there are more seriousimplications for liar-buyers concerning their home insurancepolicies.

Rebecca Holmes added: "If couples are lying toeach other about the cost of what they are buying, are they alsounder-valuing their home contents insurance? If they haven’ttold their insurer the true value of their belongings they couldlose out in the event of a claim.

"We strongly advise couples to be upfront witheach other about their spending in order to avoid bigger financialproblems later down the line."

What lie-buyers are likely to hide:

Male lie-buyers


Female lie-buyers

Clothes 53%

Clothes 88%

Electrical equipment and
gadgets 52%

Shoes 65%

Shoes 28%

Handbags 44%

Jewellery 27%

Jewellery 31%

Sports equipment 22%

Electrical equipment and gadgets 17%

For further information, pleasecontact:
Janice Rutledge at Lexis PR on 020 79086575
EmilieLien at Lexis PR on 020 7908 6421
RebeccaHolmes at Norwich Union on 01603 354346/07800 690731

Notes to editors

  • Research conducted by ICM, February 2006
  • £864m based on number of males between 18-64 who admitted toconcealing purchases from their partner (14% of 18,400,300 =2,576,042) multiplied by the average value of the goods theyconceal (£335.60). About Norwich Union Insurance
  • Norwich Union is the UK's largest insurer with a market shareof around 14 per cent
  • With a focus on insurance for individuals and smallbusinesses, Norwich Union insures:
    • One in five households
    • One in seven motor vehicles
    • Around 800,000 businesses
  • Norwich Union products are available through a variety ofdistribution channels including brokers, corporate partners suchas banks and building societies and Norwich Union Direct.
  • Aviva, Norwich Union’s parent company, announced itsacquisition of the RAC in 2005. The acquisition brings togetherthe RAC's powerful brand and customer base with the expertise ofNorwich Union Insurance – a market leader in motorinsurance.
  • Norwich Union's news releases and a selection of images areavailable on the Aviva internet press centre at

Back to top