South African shoppers are feeling the love on Valentine’s Day, spending more than ever on the romantic day of the yeat.
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% since 2014. And while the majority of present purchases still happen in person, love is the latest thing to go digital – with a 57% increase in the number of e-commerce transactions in the country from Valentine’s Day 2014 to Valentine’s Day 2016.
Data showed the majority of Valentine’s purchases globally happen during a last-minute dash on 13 February, 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 a lover’s heart, with spending in restaurants soaring by 71% in South Africa since 2014.
“While the way we say I love you might have changed in recent years, showing someone you care on 14 February is more popular than ever,” says Mark Elliott, division president for Mastercard, South Africa. “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.”
The study, which looked at shopper behaviour in more than 20 territories around the globe, identified some other purchasing trends.
Among these is that the personal touch still matters. Despite the continued growth of online, 95% 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% from 2014 to 2016, followed by Asia Pacific with an increase of 81% and the Middle East and Africa with a 71% increase.
Shoppers in the Middle East and Africa tend to spend most of their Valentine’s Day budget on hotels/motels (43%) followed by jewellery (22%), while flower sales picked up 30% over the three-year period.