• Sentimental spending in Middle East and Africa up 262 per cent over the past ten years
  • Flowers blooming and booming with spend up 822 per cent over past decade
  • Online shopping at an all time high, up 621 per cent since 2011
  • Home-cooked meals, restaurant DIY kits and movie marathons set to be this year’s top romantic experiences

11 February 2021, Riyadh: Sentimental shoppers in the Middle East and Africa are investing more than ever before around Valentine’s Day as spending is up 262 per cent over the past decade, according to the annual Mastercard Love Index. However, this year home is where the heart is as couples are planning to spend the day — and their money — differently.

The report offers a deep dive into spending habits and trends around the most romantic day of the year by analysing card sales across the globe. The Middle East and Africa is purchasing nearly 5 times more the amount of gifts and experiences than they were ten years ago.

Spends on traditional items and outings also increased over the past decade, such as flowers at 822 per cent, jewelry at 260 per cent followed by restauarants outings at 218 per cent.

However, as most of the world still faces lockdown limitations, restaurant DIY kits, park walks, home-cooked meals and movie marathons are set to be the top ways couples will bring romantic experiences home this year.

Online shopping has grown steadily over the past decade and is at an all time high – with a 621 per cent increase in the number of online transactions in the Valentine’s Day period over the past ten years. Furthermore, contactless transactions have also shown a significant growth from last year, with the volume of contactless payments growing by 551 per cent in 2020 as compared to the same period in 2019. Many will shop online for Valentine’s Day gifts this year, whilst some will show their love for local, purchasing bouquets and gifts from neighbourhood businesses.

The Mastercard Love Index has been providing insights into global buying behaviours and spending trends around the most romantic day of the year for nearly a decade. Of course, this year has been unlike any other, but we’re still seeing spending around Valentine’s Day at an all-time high as the world turns to online and local shops for gifts and at-home experiences.” said Beatrice Cornacchia, Senior Vice President Marketing and Communications MEA at Mastercard. “It has undoubtedly been a catalyst for the surge in e-commerce activity, and as a result, we have been able to help more people embrace the digital shift by delivering an online shopping experience that is safe, secure and convenient.”