The Mastercard Love Index shows rising e-commerce spending in Kenya

The annual Mastercard Love Index indicates that Kenyans are willing to dig deeper into their pockets to make their partners happy and that they are going online to do it, there has been a 152% increase in the number of e-commerce transactions between 2016 and 2018.

The Mastercard Love Index, which is created by analyzing credit, debit and prepaid card transactions over a three-year period (11th-14th February 2016-18) has revealed that whilst sentimental spending has increased globally by 3% since 2016, in Kenya, this has increased by a whopping 47%.

Though the global data showed a significant return to last-minute shopping with the majority (30%) of Valentine’s Day purchases taking place on the day itself (February 14th) in 2018, for Kenyans, planning ahead is more their style with the majority of the purchases taking place three days earlier (February 11th).

Global shoppers may be leaving their Valentine’s shopping until the last minute but that doesn’t mean they’re plumping for traditional, standard gifts, and neither are Kenyans.  The data shows just a small increase of 7% spent on roses and floral gifts and the amount spent on jewellery globally decreased by 8% in 2018 compared to 2016. This is comparative to Kenya where the number of transactions on flowers remained stable from 2016 and jewellery transactions decreased from 2016 to 2018.

Instead romantic shoppers from around the world are choosing to purchase gifts with closer links to their loved ones’ personal interests, revealed by a 41% increase in the value of purchases of books and records – let music be the food of love! Following the trend of experiences trumping material goods, an indulgent night in a hotel remains top of the Valentine’s gift list as the data reveals the number of transactions on hotels rose by 9% from 2016 to 2018, and with it a total spend increase of 5%. In comparison to the global numbers, the number of transactions in hotels in Kenya rose by 59% from 2016 to 2018, with a total spend increase of 57%.  

Read >> Africa eCommerce Week: Africa had 21 million online shoppers in 2017

Globally, the use of contactless technology continues to rise in momentum as the value of transactions rose by a huge 229%, and an increase of 193% in the number of transactions since 2016. It’s hardly surprising this is the preferred method of settling the bill – especially with contactless payments now enabled in over nine million locations across 114 countries. In Kenya, the share of contactless transactions increased by 100% since 2017 while the value of contactless transactions has seen an increase of 637% since 2017.

“In an age where contactless payments and same-day delivery ecommerce purchases are now the norm, it’s now easier than ever to impress our loved ones with meaningful Valentine’s surprises. Our data reveals that consumers across the globe are enjoying spontaneous experiences to share with their special someone, over and above material gifts, even when making their romantic purchases at the very last minute.

The Mastercard Valentine’s Day Index –  now in its fourth year – highlights key global and regional trends to uncover behavioral trends such as this shift towards on-the-day shopping, and hopefully offers retailers some priceless insight into consumer buying habits during the period leading up to the most romantic day of the year”, commented Adam Jones, Area Business Head, East Africa, Mastercard.

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