Kenya notes 163% rise in e-commerce ahead of Valentine’s Day

Whether it’s a small romantic gesture or an extravagant surprise for that special someone, it would appear shoppers around the globe are feeling loved up, spending more on the most romantic day of the year than ever before.

The annual “Mastercard Love Index”, an analysis of payment card transactions over a three-year period, has revealed that sentimental spending has increased by 49 percent. And whilst the majority of purchases still happen in person, love is the latest thing to go digital, with a 37 percent increase in the number of online transactions.

Data showed the majority of Valentine’s purchases happen during a last-minute dash on February 13th, with 47.4 million transactions that day alone over the past three years.

Recent years have shown that the stomach is increasingly the way to one’s heart, with spending in restaurants soaring by 102 percent since 2014.

In Kenya specifically, Valentine’s Day spending has risen by 94 percent since 2014, noting a 163 percent rise in e-commerce transactions. Interestingly enough, the Kenyan market showed a slight depreciation in jewelry sales, by about 13 percent. Kenya bolstered the global trend of a romantic dining experience, as the market noted a 240 percent increase in restaurant spending, which accounts for 40 percent of the market’s overall spend during this period.

“Whilst the way we say I love you might have changed in recent years, showing someone you care on February 14th is more popular than ever. The Mastercard Love Index highlights key global and regional trends to hopefully offer retailers some priceless insight into how customers want to spend the most romantic day of the year” commented Chris Bwakira, Vice President and Area Business Head, East Africa at Mastercard.

The study, which looked at shopper behaviour in more than 200 territories around the globe, identified some other purchasing trends.

The personal touch still matters: Despite the continued growth of online, 95 percent of transactions around Valentine’s Day are still made in person. Those in Latin America showed the biggest shift to online, with an increase of 250 percent from 2014 to 2016, followed by Asia Pacific with an increase of 81 percent and the Middle East and Africa with a 71 percent increase.

Shoppers in Middle East and Africa spend most of their Valentine’s Day budget on hotels/motels (43 percent) followed by jewellery (22 percent) and conduct three quarters (75 percent) of their purchases in person. In this region, Valentine’s Day flower sales were up by 30 percent over the three year period.


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