Valentine's Day spending increases as Brits get creative

February 11, 2021
  • Valentine’s spending has increased 138 per cent over past decade 
  • Sentimental UK shoppers spent £688 million around Valentine’s Day in 2020 
  • 32 per cent will shop local for Valentine’s Day gifts this year 

Sentimental shoppers are investing more than ever before around Valentine’s Day according to the annual Mastercard Love Index which reveals spending has increased 138 per cent over the past decade. 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 UK. UK Shoppers collectively spent £688 million over the romantic period last year – compared to £289 million in 2011. Total transactions on gifts and experiences have increased by 355 per cent in comparison to figures from ten years ago. 

As the UK remains limited by lockdown, home-cooked meals, takeaways, a walk in the park and a movie marathon are amongst the top ways couples will bring romantic experiences home this year.

Top ten romantic experiences for Valentine’s Day 2021:

  1. A home-cooked meal (51%)
  2. A home takeaway (31%)
  3. A walk in the park (16%)
  4. A movie marathon (15%)
  5. A game night (9%)
  6. A walk around your home town (8%)
  7. An indoor picnic (7%)
  8. A virtual date; e.g Zoom, video call etc. (6%)
  9. A home spa day (5%)
  10. A virtual cocktail-making class (3%)

Online shopping has grown steadily over the past decade and is at an all-time high – with a 368 per cent increase in the number of online transactions during the Valentine’s Day period over the past ten years. Almost half (41 per cent) say they will shop online for Valentine’s Day gifts this year, while many will show their love for local, with 32 per cent purchasing from neighbourhood businesses. 

The report also shows how attitudes to relationships have evolved over the past year, and how Valentine’s Day 2021 may be the most meaningful yet, with 28 per cent of romantics Brits putting more thought into Valentine’s Day this year – and 29 per cent being more creative with their plans.

Love (Online) Actually

The pandemic may have stopped people seeing loved ones in real life, but it hasn’t stopped people finding love. One in ten (11 per cent) have found a relationship online in the past year and 12 per cent have been on a Zoom or video date. Almost one fifth (16 per cent) have enjoyed a socially distanced walk date and 13 per cent have signed up to online dating sites and apps in the last year.

Janne Kappinen, Vice President, Merchant Development UK&I at Mastercard said: “The Mastercard Love Index has provided insights into buying behaviours and spending trends around the most romantic day of the year for nearly a decade. Although this year is slightly different to usual, we’re still seeing spending around Valentine’s Day at an all-time high as the UK turns to online and local shops for gifts and at-home experiences.”

Mastercard is offering a host of different Priceless experiences for cardholders this Valentine’s Day, including champagne tasting, an online masterclass to learn the secrets of spice with Arun Kapil and a delicious cookie delivery, all available on

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