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… while spoiling your loved one on Valentine’s Day shows no signs of slowing down

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People all over the world continue to prove their affection for one another by not only saying “I love you” and splashing their cash on material goods but instead, by investing in memorable experiences, as new data shows a boom in sentimental spending.

The annual “Mastercard Love Index”, created by analysing credit, debit and prepaid transactions across the past three Valentine periods (11th-14th February 2015-2017), 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.

Conversely, money spent on traditional Valentine’s gifts such as flowers decreased by a mere 3%. However, the number of transactions spiked by 14%, demonstrating that although flowers remain a symbol of romance, a single stem means more than an elaborate bouquet. Similarly, with jewellery, spend decreased by transactions hiked by 10% on the like-to-like basis in comparison to 2015.

Whisking you partner away for an unforgettable travel experience (via train or air) also saw a significant rise in 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 in ‘experience economy’ as happiness comes from creating lasting memories-worthy of posting on social media-instead of purchasing goods.

The report suggests that contactless card technology is the perfect way to avoiding those awkward moments when the bill comes and, it gained momentum as the value of transactions grew by 311%, and a 203% increase in the number of transactions since 2015. In fact, the amount spend via contactless rose across all categories with the highest increase in air and train travel (1064%) jewellery (453%) and flowers (446%).

The study, which looked at shopper behaviour in more than 200 territories around the globe, identified further purchasing trends by looking into whether consumers fall into the category of planners or spontaneous shoppers when it comes to matters of love.

As yet, consumers globally are getting ahead of the curve when buying gifts, the same body of research unveiled. More than a quarter (30%) of Valentine’s day purchased are made in advance, with 48.8 million transactions took place globally on 11th February, over three years. Whereas, just over a quarter (27%) of all sales between 11th-14th February made on Valentine’s Day itself.

The trend for online shopping continues with a 136% considering expansion in the number of e-commerce transactions from Valentine’s Day in 2015 and until last year’s Valentine’s Day.

“Our data suggests that while people still purchase traditional gifts, the move towards putting on a great experience trumps all,” says Ann Cairns, president, at International.

She concludes: “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.”

Speaking of trends, Britons don’t seem to view prosecco as a special treat anymore-searches are 13% lower ahead of Valentine’s Day, while arguably a more luxurious treat champagne showed trending, according to an analysis by Criteo, which evaluated 2.3 million of the UK’s most popular search terms from 29th February-12th February.

Other, the most searched tipples of preference, which either help to drown the pain of unrequited love or celebrate the occasion are followed by Gin, Jack Daniels, Baileys, Stella Artois and Strongbow.

Ingredients for posh meals, such as steak, prawns and lobster, shot up dramatically-the days of shoppers picking and choosing individual cuts, even from supermarket butchers, are drawing to a close.

Photo credit: izzzy71 (Fotolia)

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