Kiwis Make Romantic Purchases at the Last Minute for Valentine’s Day

February 14, 2019 | Auckland | By Barkha Patel

Kiwi shoppers are embracing spontaneity this year, with nearly a third of people (29%) purchasing last minute romantic gifts on Valentine’s Day.

The annual “Mastercard Love Index”, created by analysing credit, debit and prepaid card transactions over a three-year period (11th-14th February 2016-18) has revealed whilst sentimental spending has increased by 40% since 2016 in New Zealand, most people are failing to plan ahead with the majority of this year’s Valentine’s Day purchases taking place on the day itself.

These last-minute lovers are also placing their trust in the speed, convenience and choice offered by online shopping to ensure their loved ones aren’t left disappointed, with the number of e-commerce transactions increasing by 87% from Valentine’s Day 2016 to Valentine’s Day 2018.

To celebrate the most romantic day of the year, indulging in experiences continues to be increasingly popular with New Zealanders. Kiwis are whisking their loved ones out to dinner with an increased number of transactions made in restaurants by 28% from 2016 to 2018, and total spend increasing by 15% over the same period.

An indulgent night at a hotel remains a popular Valentine’s Day activity as the data reveals the number of transactions on hotels rose by 24% from 2016 to 2018, and with it a total spend increase of 42%.

Traditional gifts such as purchasing a bouquet of flowers remains a favourite with Kiwis, with data showing an increase spend on flowers by 86% in comparison to 2016. The amount spent on jewellery has decreased by 4% since 2016.

The value of contactless transactions around Valentine’s Day in New Zealand rose by 222%, with a 220% increase in the number of transactions since 2016, as more retailers embrace the speed and convenience of offering contactless payments.

“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,” says Ruth Riviere, Country Manager for Mastercard New Zealand and Pacific Islands.

“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,” adds Riviere.

Regional summary of consumer spending habits across the globe:

United States

    • U.S. saw a 98% increase in the number of e-commerce transactions from Valentine’s Day 2016 to Valentine’s Day 2018

    • In 2018, people were planning ahead with the majority of Valentine’s purchases happening on the 11th February


    • Europeans spent 30% more in the Valentine’s period in 2018 than in 2016, with 41% more in volume of transactions

    • Experiences saw key growth, with the spend on hotels, restaurant trips and transportation increasing by 23%, 15% and 61% respectively

    • Although jewellery remained largely stable, with a 1% increase in spend and 7% increase in number of transactions, flowers were increasingly popular: 2018 saw 59% increase in spend and 54% increase in number of transactions from 2016 to 2018

Asia Pacific   

    • Asia Pacific increased sentimental spending by 33% in 2018 from 2016 and volume of transactions increased by 37%

    • Increases in both spend value and number of transactions were seen in all purchase categories, with the most significant increase made on flower purchases: 89% higher than spend value in 2016 and 73% more transactions

    • Transportation was also more popular with a 65% increase in the value of spend, and 25% more transactions


Barkha Patel, Vice President, Communications, International Markets (IMK), Mastercard

Media Contacts

Renee Ji Acumen, Republic for Mastercard
+64 21 294 2104 +64 9 354 0555 |

About Mastercard and its Suite of Research Properties

The Mastercard Index suite in Asia Pacific includes the long-running Mastercard Index of Consumer Confidence, as well as the Mastercard Index of Women’s Advancement, Mastercard Index of Financial Literacy, and the Mastercard Index of Global Destination Cities. In addition to the indices, Mastercard’s research properties also include a range of consumer surveys including Online ShoppingEthical Spending and a series on Consumer Purchasing Priorities (covering TravelDining & EntertainmentEducationMoney Management, Luxury and General Shopping).

About Mastercard (NYSE: MA)

Mastercard is a global technology company in the payments industry. Our mission is to connect and power an inclusive, digital economy that benefits everyone, everywhere by making transactions safe, simple, smart and accessible. Using secure data and networks, partnerships and passion, our innovations and solutions help individuals, financial institutions, governments and businesses realize their greatest potential. With connections across more than 210 countries and territories, we are building a sustainable world that unlocks priceless possibilities for all.