New York - 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 shoppers made purchases in-person, whereas only 6 percent preferred to make their transactions 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 where 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 (-14%) 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 period 
Europe    ·         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 purchases (107%) 
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 
Canada ·         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 and2015.

About MasterCard
MasterCard (NYSE: MA),, 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 , join the discussion on the Beyond the Transaction Blog and subscribe for the latest news on the Engagement Bureau.