The “MasterCard Love Index” highlights shoppers are getting physical, preferring personal purchases and experiences when it comes to buying for a loved one Share this news using the hashtag #LoveIndex

LONDON, February 11th, 2016 – The move to digital and online shopping shows no sign of slowing down but when it comes to love, shoppers want to get physical.  Today MasterCard has revealed that when it comes to expressing love shoppers in the UK and around the globe prefer the personal touch by picking out presents in store for their Valentine.MC_Valentine_Twitter_04

Consumer spending in the build-up to Valentine’s Day by Britons has increased by 15% over the last three years, and the data also revealed that many people are moving away from gifts and grand gestures in the pursuit of an experience and the creation of special memories.

“It is interesting to see that when it comes to Valentine’s Day and spending on romance, more of us prefer experiences over material gifts. Even though the ongoing shift to online shows no sign of waning for the British shopper, this time of year is an exception, rather than trusting our gestures of love to the digital world it appears we still need the reassurance of choosing our purchases in person or enjoying romantic experiences together.” Commented Mark Barnett, President of MasterCard UK and Ireland.

The “MasterCard Love Index” showcases global shopper behaviour in over 200 countries, including the UK, and was created by analysing credit, debit and prepaid card transactions over a three-year period between 11-14 February in 2013, 2014 & 2015.  The Index not only looked at the volume of spending and the amount spent but also analysed the types of spending associated with Valentine’s Day.

The study identified some other purchasing trends, highlighting some notable differences around the globe:

  • The personal touch: 80% of UK shoppers made purchases in-person, whereas only 12% preferred to make their transactions online. Europeans made the most of buying online with over a fifth (21%) of transactions taking place via the internet. Globally, 90% of purchases were made in-person.
  • Experiences over physical items: Spending patterns across the globe show an increasing number of people are treating their loved ones to meals in restaurants (33%) and hotel stays (28%). Shoppers in the UK (52%), Latin America (54%) and the United States (38%) saw the majority of transactions in their regions at restaurants, while the Asia Pacific, Europe and Middle East regions preferred to get away from it all by prioritising hotel stays.
  • Still saying it with flowers: There was a slight decline in the sale of flowers and cards during the three years in the UK, down 8% from 2013 and accounting for just 5% of total spending during this period, which in line with average global spending patterns. However, Latin Americans are bucking this trend by almost doubling their spending on flowers (92%) during this period, whereas the Middle East were the only region to show an increase in purchases of cards, and by a significant amount of 107% too.

Global Valentine’s Day spending patterns by region: 

United Kingdom
  • 80% of people made purchases in-person, whereas only 12% of people made purchases online
  • Flowers and stationery/cards accounted for less than 5% of purchases in 2015, down from 8% in 2013
  • Spending on restaurants has gone up each year, accounting for 22% of spend in 2013, 25% in 2014 and 29% in 2015
United States
  • Food is the most important aspect of Valentine’s Day, with 38% of spending made at restaurants, an increase of 66% during this periodSpending on physical items such as flowers (-17%) and cards (-14%) has decreased
  • Spending has increased by 28% with 64% of transactions being made in-person
Latin America    
  • Romance is on the rise with an increase in spending on flowers (+92%) and jewellery (+67%)By percentage, Latin Americans are spending more on restaurants than any region (54%)
  • Valentine’s Day spending has increased by 25% during this period
  • Spending more on accommodations (33%) and food (25%), with purchases in restaurants up 53% in this periodValentine’s Day spending is up 14%
  • 21% of transactions online saw Europe as the region making most purchases via the internet. 66% were made in-person
Middle East   
  • More likely to spend money on Jewellery (23%) than any other regionTravel spending is on the rise with 43% of transactions being made on hotels, an increase of 51%
  • Only region to see an increase in Valentine’s Day card purchases (107%)
Asia and the Pacific Rim   
  • More spending on experiences such as hotels (36%) and restaurants (24%), less on “physical items” including Flowers (2%) and cards (2%)
  • 84% of transactions were made in-person over 10% online
  • Valentine’s Day spending is up 23% during this period
  • Canadians most likely to spend their money on transportation (35%) an increase of 9%Only 4% of spending went on flowers, 34% down from 2013 to 2015
  • 54% of transactions made in-person verses 18% online and 28% when the card holder wasn’t present


Flowers  United States (5%)Canada (4%)UK (2%)Asia Pacific (2%)Europe (2%)Latin America (2%)Middle East (0%)TOTAL (4%) UK (-19%)Asia Pacific (-25%)Canada (-34%)Europe (+15%)Latin America (+92%)United States (-17%)Middle East (+6%)TOTAL (-9%)
Hotel/Motel  Middle East (43%)Asia Pacific (36%)Europe (33%)UK (31%)Latin America (23%)United States (23%)Canada (20%)TOTAL (28%) UK (+14%)Asia Pacific (+25%)Canada (+9%)Europe (+28%)Latin America (+48%)United States (+32%)Middle East (+51%)TOTAL (+31%)
Jewellery  Middle East (23%)Asia Pacific (14%)UK (7%)Europe (7%)Canada (6%)United States (6%)Latin America (5%)TOTAL (7%) UK (+26%)Asia Pacific (+22%)Canada (-9%)Europe (+11%)Latin America (+67%)United States (+8%)Middle East (+4%)TOTAL (+14%)
Restaurant  Latin America (54%)United States (38%)Canada (29%)UK (25%)Europe (25%)Asia Pacific (24%)Middle East (12%)TOTAL (33%) UK (+56%)Asia Pacific (+36%)Canada (+4%)Europe (+53%)Latin America (+12%)United States (+66%)Middle East (+58%)TOTAL (+49%)
Transportation Canada (35%)UK (32%)Europe (32%)United States (24%)Asia Pacific (22%)Middle East (21%)Latin America (10%)TOTAL (25%) UK (-6%)Asia Pacific (+13%)Canada (-16%)Europe (-17%)Latin America (+45%)United States (-3%)Middle East (+12%)TOTAL (-6%)
Stationary Latin America (6%)Canada (6%)United States (4%)UK (2%)Asia Pacific (2%)Europe (1%)Middle East (1%)TOTAL (3%) UK (-25%)Asia Pacific (-7%)Canada (-24%)Europe (-17%)Latin America (-4%)United States (-14%)Middle East (+107%)TOTAL (-12%)



Adam Keal, MasterCard UK&I: +44 (0)7710 916 144

James Thorpe, MasterCard UK&I: +44 (0)7807 378 265

About the Valentine’s Day Study
The study analysed aggregated transaction information made by credit, debit and pre-pay cards across pre-selected merchant categories which took place over a three-year period between 11th – 14th February from 2013-2015.

About MasterCard
MasterCard (NYSE: MA),, is a technology company in the global payments industry.  We operate the world’s fastest payments processing network, connecting consumers, financial institutions, merchants, governments and businesses in more than 210 countries and territories.  MasterCard’s products and solutions make everyday commerce activities – such as shopping, traveling, running a business and managing finances – easier, more secure and more efficient for everyone. Follow us on Twitter @MasterCardNews, join the discussion on the Beyond the Transaction Blog and subscribe for the latest news on the Engagement Bureau.