The annual “Mastercard Love Index” highlights an increase in last minute purchases taking place on February 14th with an increased reliance on online shopping

London, 12 February 2019: Ever heard the saying spontaneity is sexy? Well it appears that shoppers are taking this notion to heart as more and more people are leaving their romantic gift purchasing until the very last minute!

The annual “Mastercard Love Index”, created by analysing credit, debit and prepaid card transactions over a three-year period (11th-14th February 2016-18) has revealed that sentimental spending in the UK has increased by 49% since 2016, however, there has been a significant return to ‘Last-Minute Larry’ shopping with the majority (28%) of Valentine’s Day purchases taking place on the day itself (February 14th) in 2018.

These last-minute lovers are also placing their trust in the speed, convenience and choice offered by online shopping to ensure that their loved ones aren’t left disappointed on the most romantic day of the year, with the number of e-commerce transactions increasing by 129% for the UK and 76% across Europe from Valentine’s Day 2016 to Valentine’s Day 2018.

Brits may be leaving their Valentine’s shopping until the last minute but that doesn’t mean they’re plumping for traditional, standard gifts. The data shows just a small increase of 8% spent on roses and floral gifts and the amount spent on jewellery decreased by 28% in 2018 compared to 2016.

Instead, hotels have seen the most significant increase in spending activity around Valentine’s Day as the data reveals the number of transactions on hotels rose by 65% from 2016 to 2018 with a total spend increase of a whopping 74%. Meanwhile the number of transactions on hotels for consumers across Europe rose on average by just 9% from 2016 to 2018, and with it a total spend increase of 5%.

The use of contactless technology also continues to rise in momentum as the value of transactions rose by a huge 271%, since 2016. It’s hardly surprising this is the preferred method of settling the bill – especially with contactless payments now enabled in over 9 million locations across 114 countries.

“In an age where contactless payments and same-day delivery ecommerce purchases are now the norm, it’s now easier than ever to gift our loved ones with meaningful Valentine’s surprises. Our data reveals that consumers in the UK and across the globe, are enjoying spontaneous experiences to share with their special someone, over and above material gifts, even when making their romantic purchases at the very last minute.

“The Mastercard Valentine’s Day Index – now in its fourth year – highlights key global and regional data to uncover behavioural trends such as this shift towards on-the-day shopping, and offers retailers some priceless insight into consumer buying habits during the period leading up to the most romantic day of the year”, commented Janne Karppinen, Mastercard’s Head of Retail for the UK.

Summary of consumer spending habits across Europe including UK and Ireland:

KEY SPENDING PATTERNS PER REGION DURING VALENTINE’S DAY PERIOD ACROSS 2016 – 2018
Europe
  • Europeans spent 30% more in the Valentines period in 2018 than in 2016, with 41% more in volume of transactions
  • Experiences saw key growth, with the spend on hotels, restaurant trips and transportation increasing by 23%, 15% and 61% respectively
  • Although jewellery remained largely stable, with a 1% increase in spend and 7% increase in number of transactions, flowers were increasingly popular: 2018 saw 59% increase in spend and 54% increase in number of transactions from 2016 to 2018
UK 
  • Brits spent 49% more in the Valentines period in 2018 than in 2016 with 38% more in volume and transactions.
  • Experiences saw key growth, with the spend on hotels, restaurant trips and transportation increasing by 74%, 29% and 64% respectively
  • Spend on jewellery dropped for Brits with total spend decreasing by 28% since 2016. Meanwhile total spend on flowers were up by 8% and the total number of transactions up 12%.
Ireland 
  • Irish consumers spent 44% more in the Valentines period in 2018 than in 2016 with 47% more in volume and transactions.
  • Experiences saw key growth, with the spend on hotels, restaurant trips and transportation increasing by 89%, 18% and 44% respectively
  • Spend on jewellery dropped for the Irish too with total spend decreasing by 13% since 2016. Meanwhile total spend on flowers was significantly up by 59% and the total number of transactions up 43%.

 -ENDS-

Mastercard and its Suite of Research Properties

The Mastercard Index suite includes the long-running Mastercard Index of Consumer Confidence, as well as the Mastercard Index of Women’s AdvancementMastercard Index of Financial Literacy, and the Mastercard Index of Global Destination Cities. In addition to the indices, Mastercard’s research properties also include a range of consumer surveys including Online ShoppingEthical Spending and a series on Consumer Purchasing Priorities (covering TravelDining & EntertainmentEducationMoney Management, Luxury and General Shopping).

About Mastercard

Mastercard (NYSE: MA), www.mastercard.com, 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 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.

Mastercard Communications Contact Lauren Jefferys

+44 207 513 2169 lauren.jefferys@mastercard.com