Valentine’s Day is a physical thing…when it comes to shopping that is

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

PURCHASE, N.Y.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–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, new
insights revealed that when it comes to expressing love, shoppers across
the globe prefer the personal touch by picking out presents in store for
their Valentine.

The “MasterCard Valentine’s Day Index” showcases global shopper behavior
in more than 200 countries around the world by analyzing credit, debit
and prepaid card transactions on February 11-14 in 2013, 2014 and 2015.
The Index not only looked at the volume of spending and the amount
spent, but also the types of retailers typically associated with
Valentine’s Day.

During the three-year period, overall consumer spending in the build-up
to Valentine’s Day increased by an average of 22 percent, with many
people moving away from gifts and grand gestures in the pursuit of
experiences 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. These insights on global and regional
purchasing trends can help retailers and other merchants put a little
more Priceless in Valentine’s Day celebrations, while
strengthening relationships with their customers,” commented Max Chion,
executive vice president, global acceptance products for MasterCard.

The study identified some other purchasing trends, highlighting some
notable differences around the globe:

  • The personal touch: Globally, 90 percent of transactions were
    made in person, whereas only 6 percent were online. Europeans made the
    most of buying online with over a fifth (21 percent) of transactions
    taking place via the internet.
  • 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). Shoppers in Latin America (54 percent) and the United States
    (38 percent) saw the majority of transactions in their regions at
    restaurants, while the Asia Pacific, Europe and Middle East regions
    preferred to get away from it all by prioritizing hotel stays.
  • Still saying it with flowers: In general, there was a slight
    decline in the sale of flowers and cards during the three years.
    However, Latin Americans are bucking this trend by almost doubling
    their spending on flowers (92 percent) during this period, whereas the
    Middle East was the only region to show an increase in purchases of
    cards, and by a significant amount of 107 percent too.

Global Valentine’s Day spending patterns by region:



United States

  • Food is the most important aspect of Valentine’s Day,
    with 38% of spending made at restaurants, an increase of 66%
    during this period
  • Spending on physical items such as flowers (-17%) and cards
    has decreased
  • Spending has increased by 28% with 64% of transactions
    being made in-person

Latin America

  • Romance is on the rise with an increase in spending on
    flowers (+92%)
    and jewelry (+67%)
  • By percentage, Latin Americans are spending more on
    restaurants than any region (54%)
  • Valentine’s Day spending has increased by 25% during this


  • Spending more on accommodations (33%) and food (25%),
    with purchases in restaurants up 53% in this period
  • Valentine’s Day spending is up 14%
  • 21% of transactions online saw Europe as the region
    making most purchases via the internet. 66% were made in-person

Middle East

  • More likely to spend money on Jewelry (23%) than any
    other region
  • Travel spending is on the rise with 43% of transactions
    being made on hotels, an increase of 51%
  • Only region to see an increase in Valentine’s Day card

Asia and the Pacific Rim

  • More spending on experiences such as hotels (36%) and
    restaurants (24%), less on “physical items” including Flowers
    (2%) and cards (2%)
  • 84% of transactions were made in-person over 10% online
  • Valentine’s Day spending is up 23% during this period


  • Canadians most likely to spend their money on transportation
    (35%) an increase of 9%
  • Only 4% of spending went on flowers, 34% down from 2013
    to 2015
  • 54% of transactions made in-person verses 18% online and
    28% when the cardholder wasn’t present

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

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,
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Seth Eisen, 914-249-3153