Looking to win over your loved one this Valentine’s Day? Try ‘date night’ experiences

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February 9th, 2018 – People around the world continue to say “I love you” by investing in experiences over material goods, as new data shows sentimental spending has increased by 6% since 2015, with the number of transactions up by 17% during the Valentine’s Day period.

The annual “Mastercard Love Index”, created by analysing credit, debit and prepaid transactions across the past three Valentine periods (11th-14th February 2015-17), reveals that the most popular way to your lover’s heart is through their stomach, as dining out for ‘date night’ takes top spot with 40% share of spend, and 75% share of transactions in 2017.Mastercard_Love Index_final

Whisking your partner away for an unforgettable travel experience (via air or train) also saw a significant rise as the number of transactions increased by 23% in 2017, accounting for 22% of total spend over the most romantic time of the year. Indulging in a hotel stay remains a firm favourite with 27% share of spend.

The data supports the rise of the ‘experience economy’ as happiness clearly comes from creating lasting memories – worthy of posting on social media – instead of purchasing ‘things’.

Contactless technology – perfect for avoiding those awkward moments when the bill comes – gains momentum as the value of transactions rose by a massive 311%, and a 203% increase in the number of transactions since 2015. In fact, the amount spent via contactless rose across all categories with the highest increase across air and train travel (1064%), jewellery (453%) and flowers (446%).

Conversely, money spent on traditional Valentine’s gifts such as flowers decreased by 3%, although the number of transactions increased by 14%, showing that although flowers remain a symbol of romance, a single stem means more than an elaborate bouquet. Similarly with jewellery, spend decreased by 9% but transactions increased by 10% (vs. 2015).

The study, which looked at shopper behaviour in more than 200 territories around the globe, identified further purchasing trends.

So, are we planners or spontaneous when it comes to matters in love? The data suggests that we are getting ahead of the curve when buying gifts. It’s no longer left until the last minute, as the majority (30%) of Valentine’s purchases are made on the 11th February (48.8 million transactions globally, over the past three years) however, just over a quarter (27%) of all transactions (between 11th – 14th February) were made on Valentine’s Day itself.

The trend for online shopping continues with an enormous 136% increase in the number of e-commerce transactions from Valentine’s Day 2015 to Valentine’s Day 2017.

“Spoiling your loved one on Valentine’s Day shows no signs of slowing down. Our data suggests that while people still purchase traditional gifts, the move towards putting on a great experience trumps all. Contactless payments are convenient and make life that little bit easier, so it’s great to see people embracing the technology around the world. The Mastercard Love Index – now in its 3rd year – highlights global and regional trends to offer priceless insight into consumer buying habits over the romantic period.” Ann Cairns, President, International.

Regional summary of consumer spending habits across the globe:

KEY SPENDING PATTERNS PER REGION DURING VALENTINE’S DAY PERIOD ACROSS 2015 – 2017
United States
  • America saw a 106% increase in the number of e-commerce transactions from Valentine’s Day
Latin America and the Caribbean    
  • LAC saw a 327% increase in the number of e-commerce transactions
  • The number of transactions on flowers has increased by 28%. Jewellery also shows a similar trend with spend decreasing by 57% but interestingly transactions increased by 6%
  • Share of spend on hotels has actually decreased by -29%; taking a 18% share of spend and a 8% share of transactions in 2017
  • The number of transactions on transportation (air and/or train) increased by 27% in 2017, accounting for 8% of total spend during the Valentine’s Day period
Europe   
  • Sentimental spending increased by 19% since 2015 in Europe, with the overall number of transactions up by 39%
  • The number of transactions on transportation (air and/or train) increased by 38% in 2017, accounting for 31% of total
  • Share of spend on dining out at restaurants has remained stable; taking a 29% share of spend and a 65% share of transactions in 2017
  • Spend on flowers has increased by 29% vs. 2015, and the number of transactions has increased by 48%. Jewellery has seen spend decrease by 5% with transactions increasing by 15% vs. 2015
Middle East and Africa
  • People are planning ahead in MEA with the majority (29%) of Valentine’s purchases happening on the 11th February (620k transactions globally on February 11th over the past 3 years)
  • Share of spend on hotels has also remained stable over the past 3 years; taking a 41% share of spend and a 21% share of transactions in 2017
  • Spend on flowers has increased by 96% vs. 2015 with the number of transactions increasing by 71%
Asia Pacific   
  • Sentimental spending has increased by 22% since 2015, with the overall number of transactions up by 74%
  • 30% increase in the number of e-commerce transactions
  • People are planning ahead with the majority (28%) of Valentine’s purchases happening on the 11th February (4.6 million transactions)
  • The number of transactions on transportation (air and/or train) increased by 17% in 2017, accounting for 21% of total spend during the Valentine’s Day period
  • The share of contactless transactions has seen an increase of 46%, and the value of these transactions increased by 166%
  • Spend on flowers in APAC increased by 39% vs. 2015 and the number of transactions also increased by 61%. Jewellery has seen overall spend increase by 21% with transactions increasing by 58% vs. 2015
Canada
  • The number of transactions on transportation (air and/or train) increased by 27% in 2017,  accounting for 33% of total spend
  • Canada saw a 216% increase in the number of e-commerce transactions in the period
  • Canadians are planning ahead with the majority (30%) of Valentine’s purchases happening on the 11th February (1.6 million transactions globally)

-ENDS-

About Mastercard

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Mastercard Communications Contact
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