Love Economy: Kenyans spend big on romantic experiences for Valentine's

Friday February 14 2020

Red roses, champagne and Valentine's Day gift.

Kenya is witnessing a significant increase in romantic experiences spending as lovebirds go beyond traditional gifts in pursuit of happiness. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

NJIRAINI MUCHIRA
By NJIRAINI MUCHIRA
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Kenya is witnessing a significant increase in romantic experiences spending as lovebirds go beyond traditional gifts in pursuit of happiness.

The Mastercard’s annual Love Index shows that the number of transactions on hotels have increase by 65 per cent from 2017 to 2019 against 22 per cent globally.

This puts hotels at the top of the wish list for Kenyans in the lead up to the most romantic day of the year, Valentine’s Day, celebrated on February 14.

“Kenyans are keeping pace with global trends and favouring experiences over traditional gifts. It’s clear that the younger generation values the opportunity to create a shared experience,” said Adam Jones, Mastercard Area Business head East Africa.

Driven by wanderlust, Kenyans spent 37 per cent more than they did in 2017 on booking flights and trips, escaping with their partners to celebrate the day.

Hotels seem to be at the top of the wish list
Hotels seem to be at the top of the wish list for Kenyans in the lead up to Valentine’s Day. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

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The index, a study of transactions ahead of Valentine’s Day, identifies spending habits and trends by analysing credit, debit and prepaid card transactions from 53 countries around the world.

Now in its fifth year, the index reveals that the world’s ‘love economy’ is growing five times faster than the global economy, with Valentine’s Day spend around the world up 17 per cent since 2017.

In Kenya, sentimental spending around Valentine’s Day has increased even more by 32 per cent since 2017, with the overall transactions up by 51 per cent.

The growth is significantly higher than the global average of a 17 per cent increase in spending, and total transactions increase of 31 per cent.

The rise of online shopping also continues with a 64 per cent increase against 57 per cent globally over the past three years.

Food continues to be a safe way to people’s hearts, with spend in restaurants increasing for Valentine’s Day year-on-year.

Kenyans are more likely than other global romantics to treat their loved ones to special meals on Valentine’s Day, with the amount spent on restaurants increasing by 18 per cent in 2019, against a 16 per cent rise globally.

Kenyan shoppers beat global trends when it comes to gifting jewellery for Valentine’s Day.

Flowers and gift hampers on sale outside Nation
Flowers and gift hampers on sale outside Nation Centre in Nairobi, Kenya, on February 13, 2020 ahead of the Valentine's Day. Traders are anticipating a good sale of gifts and flowers. PHOTO | LUCY WANJIRU | NATION MEDIA GROUP

While global spend on jewellery for the occasion increased by just 6 per cent globally, Kenya recorded a 21 per cent increase in jewellery spend in the run-up to Valentine’s Day.

However, flowers appear to be falling from favour in Kenya – while Kenyan Valentine’s Day flower sales decreased by 29 per cent last year, global sales increased by 3 per cent.

Valentine’s Day cards remain a firm favourite in Kenya, where spend has increased by 24 per cent in 2019 from the previous year, and by 5 per cent from 2017 to 2018.

In contrast, global spend on Valentine’s Day cards has increased by just 2 per cent in the past three years.

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