The annual “Mastercard Love Index” highlights money is no object when it comes to splashing out on loved ones, with Valentine’s spending up by 41 percent in South Africa

February 13, 2017 – Whether it’s a small romantic gesture or an extravagant surprise for your special someone, it would appear South African shoppers are feeling loved up, spending more on the most romantic day of the year than ever before.

The annual “Mastercard Love Index”, created by analysing credit, debit and prepaid card transactions over a three-year period, has revealed that sentimental spending in South Africa has increased by 41 percent since 2014. And while the majority of present purchases still happen in person, love is the latest thing to go digital – with a 57 percent increase in the number of e-commerce transactions in the country from Valentine’s Day 2014 to Valentine’s Day 2016.

If you still haven’t picked up something special for your loved one you’re not alone. Data showed the majority of Valentine’s purchases globally happen during a last-minute dash on February 13th, with 47.4 million transactions that day alone over the past three years.

Recent years have shown that the stomach is increasingly the way to one’s heart, with spending in restaurants soaring by 71 percent in South Africa since 2014.

“Whilst the way we say I love you might have changed in recent years, showing someone you care on February 14th is more popular than ever. The Mastercard Love Index highlights key global and regional trends to hopefully offer retailers some priceless insight into how customers want to spend the most romantic day of the year,” says Mark Elliott, division president for Mastercard, South Africa.

The study, which looked at shopper behaviour in more than 20 territories around the globe, identified some other purchasing trends.

The personal touch still matters: Despite the continued growth of online, 95 percent of transactions around Valentine’s Day are still made in person. Those in Latin America showed the biggest shift to online, with an increase of 250 percent from 2014 to 2016, followed by Asia Pacific with an increase of 81 percent and the Middle East and Africa with a 71 percent increase.

Asia Pacific
  • Spend most of their money on hotels / motels during the Valentine’s period – 37 percent, an increase of 33 percent since 2014
  • Do 85 percent of their Valentine’s Day purchases in person, however online sales have increased by 81 percent in the last three years


  • Choose to spend the most on restaurants and eating out during Valentine’s Day period – 34 percent
  • 59 percent of their spending happens in person (the lowest amount across all regions
  • Most of their Valentine’s Day spending goes on hotels / motels – 35 percent, an increase of 50 percent in three years
  • Europeans lead the way in terms of spending online compared to other regions, 19 percent of their Valentine’s Day spending is done on e-commerce sites
  • Biggest area of growth in Europe was in restaurants, up by 67 percent during the Valentine’s Day period in three years
Latin America
  • Biggest growth in terms of online spending, up by 250 percent in three years
  • Bucked the trend in terms of flowers, seeing massive growth of 271 percent between 2014-2016
  • Also saw the biggest growth in terms of splashing out on jewellery – up by 66 percent
  • Love spending their money on food, 44 percent goes on restaurants and has seen the biggest growth across all regions since 2014 – up by 130 percent
  • 90 percent of their purchasing still takes place in person
  • Spending on hotels / motels was also up by 57 percent over the three year period on Valentine’s Day
Middle East and Africa
  • Spend most of their Valentine’s Day budget on hotels / motels (43 percent) followed by jewellery (22 percent)
  • Conduct three quarters (75 percent) of their purchases in person
  • Also bucked the trend in terms of flower sales, up by 30 percent over the three year period



About MasterCard

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Mastercard Communications Contact
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