Valentine’s Day can either be a huge success, or a gigantic flop. There doesn’t seem to be much of an in-between. Eager beavers will be out prepping the rose petals and bottles of bubbly, while the “last minute heroes” will be waking up in a cold-sweat suddenly remembering it is Valentine’s Day. Love can be shown and received in many ways—some people love to give and receive gifts, others don’t; Valentine’s Day can serve as a great indication of which category you fall into.
According to Ruth Riviere, Country Manager for Mastercard New Zealand and Pacific Islands, “Kiwis are increasingly embracing Valentine’s Day however it’s often still very last minute—with people tending to rely on the speed and convenience of e-commerce and contactless payments to ensure their loved ones don’t miss out.” The annual ‘Mastercard Love Index’ is created by analysing credit, debit and prepaid card transactions over a three-year period between the 11th and 14th of February since 2016. What the study has revealed provides useful insight from which retailers can obtain insight into consumer behaviour trends.
Kiwi shoppers are embracing spontaneity this year with nearly a third of people purchasing last-minute romantic gifts on Valentine’s Day. Since February of 2016, sentimental spending has increased by 40 percent, despite the fact that the majority of Valentine’s Day spending still happens on the day itself.
Online shopping habits have also developed. Online shopping is great for the prepared. Another way to look at it is, “if I forgot to buy anything, I can order something online and say that the present is in the mail…” New Zealand trends show that shoppers are placing increasing amounts of trust in e-commerce; the number of e-commerce transactions has increased by 87 percent from Valentine’s Day 2016 to Valentine’s Day, 2018.
General trends include an increase in the total amount spent by 15 percent, as well as an increase in the total number of transactions in restaurants by 28 percent. The amount spent on jewellery, however, has decreased 4 percent since 2016, whereas the amount spent on flowers has increased by 86 percent.
One colossal growth is in the number of people using contactless payment. The value of contactless transactions around Valentine’s Day in New Zealand rose by 222 percent, with a 220 percent increase in the number of transactions since 2016.
Riviere said, “The Mastercard Love Index—now in its fourth year—highlights key global and regional trends to uncover behavioural trends. What we’ve seen in New Zealand is a shift towards experiences, and last-minute shopping, which offers retailers some great insight into consumer buying habits during the Valentine’s Day period.”
The above consumer behaviour is indicative of the range of people involved in Valentine’s Day. There is everything from the “I prepared for 2019 Valentine’s Day on February 15th, 2018,” to the “Good grief, is that the date?” Don’t feel bad if you have left things until the last minute—there are plenty of other people doing the same.