The “MasterCard Love Index” highlights shoppers are getting physical, preferring personal purchases and experiences when it comes to buying for a loved one

MasterCard study shows shoppers want to get physical this Valentine’s Day #LoveIndex

South Africa, 11 February 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, South African shoppers prefer the personal touch by picking out presents in store for their Valentine.

The “MasterCard Love Index” highlights global shopper behaviour in over 200 countries around the world and was created by analysing credit, debit and prepaid card transactions over a three-year period between 11-14 February in 2013, 2014 and 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 around the world.

Overall, the data revealed that many people are moving away from gifts and grand gestures in the pursuit of experience and the creation of memories.

“Where you live can have a big impact on how you shop or the experiences and memories you look to create. The MasterCard Love Index provides insights on global and regional purchasing trends to help retailers and other merchants make Valentine’s Day celebrations a little more personal and priceless, while strengthening relationships with their customers,” says Mark Elliott, Division President, MasterCard, South Africa.

The study identified some key purchasing trends:

  • The personal touch: Globally, 90 percent of shoppers made purchases in-person, whereas six percent preferred to make their transactions online. In South Africa, 99 percent of people made purchases in-person last year, compared to only one percent who shopped online.
  • 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 percent) and hotel stays (28 percent). South Africans echoed this trend of eating out, with a significant 80 percent having purchased meals at restaurants in 2015. However, only a small number of people prioritised hotel stays (nine percent) and jewellery (three percent) in South Africa last year.
  • Still saying it with cards: In general, there was a slight decline in the sale of flowers and cards over the past three years globally. Although buying cards in South Africa has declined from eight percent in 2013 to five percent in 2015, they are still more popular than flowers around Valentine’s Day, with only one percent of people buying flowers in 2015.

“As the world continues the move to digital, it is interesting to see that when it comes to romance, we still need the personal touch. Rather than trusting our gestures of love to the digital world, it appears we still need the reassurance of choosing our purchases in person and that when it comes to saying “I love you” on Valentine’s Day we prefer the experience over the material,” Elliott says.


About the MasterCard Valentine’s Day Index
The study analyzed aggregated transaction information made by credit, debit and prepaid cards across pre-selected merchant categories over a three-year period – February 11-14 in 2013, 2014 and 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.


Birgit Deibele, MasterCard,, +27 71 464 0983