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The annual Mastercard Love Index indicates that Kenyans are turning to online retail outlets to purchase their Valentines gifts, with a 183 percent increase in the number of e-commerce transactions taking place from 2015 to 2017.

Created by analysing credit, debit and prepaid transactions across the past three Valentine periods (11th-14th February 2015-17).

The Mastercard Love Index, looked at shopper behaviour in more than 200 territories around the globe identifying purchasing trends.

“Technology is playing a key role in changing consumer behaviour, helping people to search for their perfect gift online and having it delivered to their doorstep. This type of purchasing indicates some level of planning,” says Chris Bwakira, Mastercard East Africa Vice President and Area Business Head.

Bwakira went on to add that consumer behaviour indicates that there is great potential in the online retail environment for businesses to expand their service and product offering, opening up new revenue streams.

So, are consumer’s planners or spontaneous shoppers when it comes to matters of the heart? The data suggests more planning is going into purchases with 74 percent of purchases being made on or before the 11th February. There are however, 26 percent of purchases still being done on the day itself.

Additionally the Index highlighted that Kenyan’s are willing to dig deeper into their pockets to make their partners happy, with spending related to travel increasing by 90 percent in 2017, accounting for 28 percent of total spend during the Valentine’s Day period. Much of this taking place online.

Hotel spend has also remained stable over the past three years; taking a 62 percent share of spend and a 48 percent share of transactions in 2017.

The data supports the rise of the ‘experience economy’ as happiness is seen to come from creating lasting memories – worthy of posting on social media – instead of purchasing ‘things’.

Kenyan’s aren’t spending as much on material Valentines gifts. They tend not to buy flowers and jewellery with spend on these items decreasing by 32 percent with transactions down by 56 percent compared to 2015.

“Spoiling your loved one on Valentine’s Day shows no signs of slowing down. Our data suggests that while people still purchase traditional gifts, the move towards putting on a great experience trumps all. Online 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 retailers priceless insight into consumer buying habits over the romantic period,” concludes Bwakira.

Regional Trends
Middle East and Africa ·       129 percent increase in the number of e-commerce transactions from Valentine’s Day 2015 to Valentine’s Day 2017.
Europe ·       211 percent increase in the number of e-commerce transactions from Valentine’s Day 2015 to Valentine’s Day 2017.
Asia Pacific ·       89 percent of transactions around Valentine’s Day are still made in person, with 7 percent of gifts purchased online (a decrease of 25 percent vs. 2015).
Latin America and Caribbean ·       327 percent increase in the number of e-commerce transactions from Valentine’s Day 2015 to Valentine’s Day 2017.
United States of America ·       106 percent increase in the number of e-commerce transactions from Valentine’s Day 2015 to Valentine’s Day 2017.
Canada ·       216 percent increase in the number of e-commerce transactions from Valentine’s Day 2015 to Valentine’s Day 2017.

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