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The UK’S Best and Worst Tippers Revealed

Published 4 August 2014 by

Profession is the biggest influence on tipping, according to new research conducted* on behalf of thinkmoney, but it isn’t necessarily the biggest earners that leave the biggest tips.

People who work in tip-earning professions are 19% more likely to leave a tip than people who don’t, suggesting that working in the service sector generates a greater appreciation of customer service. Tip-earners are more likely to give generously when tipping too, with 9% claiming to tip more than 20% of the bill, compared to the national average of 2% who tip over 20%.

Tip Earners Non Tip Earners
Don't Tip 6% 25%
Less than 10% 35% 36%
10%-20% 50% 37%
20%-30% 7% 0.4%
30% or more 2% 0.4%

Age plays a part in attitudes to tipping too, with younger adults less likely to neglect the gratuity. People aged between 25 and 34 are most generous with tipping, with just 12% admitting to not tipping (11% lower than the national average) and 1.6% claiming they typically tip over 30% of the bill. Over-55s are the most likely to leave no tip (30%).

Londoners are the most generous with their tips, with almost half (49%) tipping between 10% and 20%, 7% tipping 20% to 30% and 1.7% giving more than 30%.

While not the biggest tippers, Scottish residents are by far the least likely to exit without leaving any sort of gratuity, with just 13% (10 percentage points below the national overage) saying they don’t tip at all.

The North East has the worst tippers, with over a third in the region (35%) saying they don’t tip. However, the region’s tippers can be generous. 2% of those surveyed say they give more than 30%, meaning North East tippers come second only to London and East Anglia for generous tipping.

“I don’t tip” – The UK’s no-tipping hotspots

Region Percentage who Don't Tip
North East 35%
West Midlands 33%
East Midlands/Yorkshire and the Humber 32%
North West/East Anglia 29%
Northern Ireland 27%
South East 25%
South West/Wales 23%
London 16%
Scotland 13%

“Keep the change!” – The UK’s top tippers

Region Tip 20%-30% Tip over 30%
London 7% 1%
East Anglia 3% 1%
North East 2% 2%
West Midlands 0% 2%
South East 1% 1%
South West 2% 0%
Scotland 1% 0.3%
Wales, East Midlands and North West 1% 0%
Yorkshire and the Humber & Northern Ireland 0% 0%

Tipping Points

Tipping can be a confusing and complex affair. In the UK, it’s customary to leave a tip of around 10%*****, provided you were happy with the bill. Some choose to leave more, others less, depending on their own attitude to tipping and the service they received. But getting it wrong can be embarrassing, especially when traveling.

David Cameron has made headlines twice because of his tipping habits; the first time for leaving no tip at a café in Tuscany, before returning later on during his holiday and tipping €4.90 on a €5.10 bill.** In 2013, the PM made headlines again after leaving a £50 tip on a £45 bill - equivalent to 111% - at a London branch of Pizza Express***.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg - purportedly worth $19bn**** - made the news in 2012 after leaving no tip at all after dining at a restaurant in Rome****.

Etiquette experts Debrett’s encourage discretion when tipping, suggesting that leaving a tip in cash, even when paying by debit card, can help ensure the right person collects the gratuity. They also recommend that when in pubs, offering to buy the bar tender a drink, rather than tipping or leaving change, is the most appropriate course of action.

OnePoll questioned a nationally representative sample of 2,000 adults aged 18 and over between 6th June and 16th June 2014, of whom 500 were Scottish residents. ** *** **** *****