Celebrating Friendships & Birthdays

Friends play an essential role in making our lives joyous, helping enrich it with amazing memories and a lot of belly laughs. From showing up at every birthday, armed with a birthday card and ready to lead a chorus of terrible singing, through to those cosy sleepovers where we divulge our deepest secrets, friends are always on hand to share in the good times, help us through the bad times and (often annoyingly) remember the embarrassing times.

This got us wondering, how good are we at forging great relationships, and which parts of the country are best for forming friendships? We delved into some of the vital factors that make the best friendships, looking to find out which UK cities are the best for besties.

What We Did

For our research, we sourced external data and mixed it in with some of our own, creating a four-factor study that investigated some of the most important aspects that make someone a good friend. We chose 18 major UK cities, and gave each one a score for the following factors (you can find our sources at the bottom of this article):

Generosity:

We analysed numbers of gifts and greetings cards sourced through our site in each city, with scores given for how many were bought per customer.

Welcome:

Taken from Provident’s “Unbroken Britain” community survey, it scored cities based on how welcoming they are.

Trust:

Taken from Provident’s “Unbroken Britain” community survey, it scored cities based on how trustworthy they are.

Online Search Interest:

Taken from Google Trends, it compared the cities for search engine interest on the topic of “Friendship”.

Each city was given a percentile score out of 100 for each factor. By adding these scores together, we were able to reveal our top 10 cities for friendship:

The Best From Each Ranking Factor

You’ll notice that neither of the top two cities in our study finished first for any individual factor. Their positions are based on consistently strong performances throughout the ranking factors – but who took top spot for each?

Londoners may have a reputation for being a little cold when it comes to the Monday morning tube commute, but our study helped to break those stereotypes. When it comes to generosity on birthdays, a factor that utilised our own data, it seems that people in the capital really do love giving. We found that Londoners give more birthday cards and gifts per customer than anywhere else in the country. For this factor, they scored 97 out of 100.

The rest of the country comes into its own in the other three factors. Head north to Newcastle and you’ll find the most trustworthy people in the UK (they scored 100 for this factor). That data was compiled by a UK-wide community survey, which also rated Newcastle as the second most welcoming place in the country. Topping that factor was Cardiff, making the Welsh capital the most welcoming community in the UK (scoring 100 out of 100).

To calculate our fourth factor, we turned to Google Trends, which analyses how many people are searching for a particular word or topic around the UK. Select the word “Friendship”, and you’ll find search volumes to be highest in Coventry. The people of this midlands town were found to conduct more friendship-related searches than anywhere else in the UK. For this factor, they scored 100.

South Coast Cities Come Out on Top

Hats off to the South, which took silver and gold in our study. Here’s the breakdown of how the top two fared in each of our ranking factors.

1st Plymouth

  • Generosity score: 86/100 (3rd overall)
  • Welcome score: 72/100 (6th)
  • Trust score: 94/100 (2nd)
  • Online Search Interest: 44/100 (10th)

Overall: 297/400

Plymouth takes top spot in our study of UK friendships, owed to being placed in the top 10 for each of the ranking factors we researched. The people of Plymouth were found to be particularly trustworthy, finishing 2nd with a score of 94. Based on our own generosity data, Plymouth finished 3rd, dropping to 6th for how welcoming the city is, and 10th for online search interest around friendships. Overall, the city turned out best for some of the most vital ingredients required to forge an amazing friendship, finishing 30 points ahead of the competition.

2nd Brighton

  • Generosity score: 89/100 (2nd)
  • Welcoming score: 50/100 (10th)
  • Trust score: 72/100 (5th)
  • Online Search Interest: 56/100 (7th)

Overall: 267/400

Moving east is the UK’s second-best city for friendships – Brighton. The popular seaside resort one-upped Plymouth for generosity on birthdays; a score of 89 put them 2nd for that factor. Maybe there’s something in the sea air, as those on the south coast once again proved to be very trustworthy, as Brighton’s score of 72 put them 5th for that factor.

What held them back from the top spot was a bottom-half performance when it comes to our welcoming factor, where a score of 50 points put them 10th.

Foodies and the Sentimental Type: What Else We Learned About the UK

To run alongside our friendship study, we delved into some of the birthday cards and gifts buying habits of Moonpig customers up and down the UK.

When it comes to birthday gifts, the Scottish buy a higher proportion of boozy gifts than anywhere else in the UK. With little tipples accounting for 13% of all gift buying, we know who we want coming to our birthday celebrations. To find the biggest foodie gift-givers, look no further than Northern Ireland. A whopping 42% of all gifts purchased by the Northern Irish are taken from our variety of food-related birthday gifts.

In London, flowers accounted for 23% of all gifts given, which is more than anywhere else in the UK. A beautiful, bright bloom can make anyone’s day, so this only reinforces the fact that those in the capital really are generous and caring gift-givers.

Whilst our study helps give a good indication of friendship’s across the UK, being a friend is about more than numbers and statistics. It’s about finding people who you love to share life’s journey with. It’s the people you can’t wait to tell when you’ve popped the question, the shoulder you cry on when life hits a bump in the road, or simply that one friend who, no matter where they are in the world, is always a facetime away.

Our research shows that the UK’s cities and communities are brimming with people who have all the characteristics required to bring everyone together. From the welcoming people of Newcastle to the generosity of those in the capital city, Britain is full of amazing friendships.

Data sources:

1. Generosity – Moonpig analysed sales of gifts and greetings cards in each city

2. Welcoming – Taken from Provident’s “Unbroken Britain” community survey

3. Trust – Taken from Provident’s “Unbroken Britain” community survey

4. Online search interest in Friendships – Compared Google Trends data in each city based on the topic of “Friendship”

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