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Valentine's Day (Photo by gpointstudio from Shutterstock.com).

Mastercard Love Index: You can’t hurry love… especially when it comes to Valentine’s Day shopping!

Love can be defined and expressed in a variety of ways – be it a beautiful bouquet of flowers or a romantic getaway! The Mastercard Love Index, released today, shows that consumers in Singapore are waiting till the last minute to buy that special gift – with the majority (30%) of Valentine’s Day purchases happening on 14th February itself.

This mirrors the trend across Asia Pacific (29%), except consumers in Taiwan (32%) and China (40%) who proved to be well-planned lovers, with most Valentine’s Day purchases happening on 11th February and 12th February respectively.

The annual study, created by analysing credit, debit and prepaid card transactions over a three-year period (11th-14th February 2016-18). Sentimental spending represents all spending during this Valentine’s Day period in the following categories: restaurants, hotels, transportation, books and records, jewelry and stationery.

Sentimental spending in Singapore increased by 28% in 2018 with the overall number of transactions up by 16%, compared to Valentine’s Day in 2016. Across Asia Pacific, the top markets with the highest increase in sentimental spending are China (88%), Japan (68%) and Hong Kong (62%).

The study also reveals that in Singapore, sweeping your partner away to a romantic destination is a firm favorite, with data showing a 45% increase in the number of transactions on transportation (via car, coach, train, plane), accounting for 31% of total spend during the Valentine’s Day period.

Following the trend of experiences trumping material goods, an indulgent night in a hotel remains a popular option among couples in Singapore too – the study reported that the number of transactions on hotels saw a rise of 27%, with a 48% increase in the total spend from 2016 to 2018.

However, many consumers in Singapore are also opting for the classic bouquet of flowers to brighten up their partner’s day and living space! Data revealed that the overall spend on flowers increased by 102% and the number of transactions increased by 78%, compared to 2016. Similarly, jewellery transactions saw an overall increase from 2016 to 2018, with spend increasing by 18% since 2016.

The Mastercard Love Index study also noted the rise in the use of contactless payments as the preferred method of settling the bill. Across Asia Pacific, the use of contactless technology has seen a rise in the value of transactions by 63%, and an increase of 60% in the share of transactions since 2016. As a technologically advanced nation, it is not surprising that Singapore surpassed the Asia Pacific figures – with a 692% increase in the value of transactions and 536% increase in the share of contactless transactions.

In today’s digital world, it is easy to shop for that one perfect item to melt your partner’s heart. Online shopping has proven to be both easy and convenient – data from the study shows a 48% increase in the
number of e-commerce transactions from Valentine’s Day 2016 to Valentine’s Day 2018 in Singapore.

Asia Pacific: Summary of consumer spending habits during Valentine’s Day (2016 – 2018)

  • Sentimental spending has increased by 33% in 2018 from 2016, with the overall number of
    transactions up by 37%.
  • The number of e-commerce transactions increased by 32% from Valentine’s Day 2016 to
    Valentine’s Day 2018.
  • In 2018, the Mastercard data showed people failing to plan ahead with the majority (29%) of
    Valentine’s purchases happening on the 14th February itself.
  • The number of transactions made in restaurants increased by 41% over the past 3 years; the
    amount spent in total increased by 14% from 2016 to 2018.
  • Similarly, the number of transactions on hotels increased by 27% from 2016 to 2018, and with it
    the total spend (increase of 29%).
  • The number of transactions on transportation (travel by car, coach, train, plane etc) increased
    by 25% in 2018, accounting for 24% of total spend during the Valentine’s Day period.
  • The share of contactless transactions saw an increase of 60% since 2016 (37% in 2016 vs. 38% in
    2018) and the value of contactless transactions saw an increase of 63% since 2016.
  • 86% of transactions around Valentine’s Day are still made in person with 10% of gifts purchased
    online (an increase of 32% in 2018, from 2016).
  • On Valentine’s Day itself, 87% of transactions are still made in person with 9% of gifts
    purchased online (an increase of 20% in 2018, from 2016).
  • Overall spend on flowers increased by 89% vs. 2016; the number of transactions increased by
    73%. Jewellery transactions also increased from 2016 to 2018, with spend increasing by 32%
    since 2016