Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day, which means if you have not already done so, you need to buy or plan something for the loved one or ones in your life. But how do South Africans compare to the rest of the world when it comes to Valentine’s Day, and the amount of money they’re willing to spend?

Well we’re happy you asked as the Mastercard Love Index have just been revealed, and their research shows that South Africans are more willing than most to dig a little deeper into their pockets to buy great Valentine’s Day gifts or experiences.

In fact it seems like South Africans are keen to spend more money in recent years, with an increase of nearly 66 percent in sentimental spending this year compared to 2016.

Mastercard got those numbers by looking at sentimental spending during 11th to 14th February over the past three years for a number of countries and regions.

It also seems like South Africans don’t like to leave it too late either, spending more than double what the global average is, 30 percent, come 11th February.

In terms of what we like to spend our Valentine’s Day money on, it looks like dinner dates are the go-to move, with an estimated 80 percent of 2018’s transactions being spent on that more traditional gesture of love.

It also appears as if local lovesick people enjoy travelling for Valentine’s Day too, with the Mastercard Love Index noting a significant rise of 161 percent spent on jet-setting, which accounts for 25 percent of total spend for this time of year.

“Spoiling your loved one on Valentine’s Day shows no signs of slowing down in South Africa,” says Mark Elliott, Mastercard Southern Africa division president.

“Our data also highlights the move towards the ‘experience economy’ where consumers are choosing to create lasting experiences and happy memories rather than purchasing material gifts,” he adds.

Some of the other interesting findings, if a little unromantic, sees a rise in contactless payments and online purchases. The former rose tremendously according to the Mastercard Love Index by 556 percent in 2018, and e-commerce sites saw transactions grow by 81 percent over the same period.

As such it looks like local consumers are turning to newer transactional services in order to get the job done for Valentine’s Day.

“With the rise of safe and seamless contactless and digital payments, it’s now easier than ever to impress our loved ones with meaningful Valentine’s surprises,” explains Elliott.

“Now in its fourth year, our Mastercard Love Index offers retailers and merchants priceless insights into consumer buying habits and behaviours during the period leading up to the most romantic day of the year,” he concludes.

[Image – CC 0 Pixabay]