Hong Kong men are region's biggest Valentine's Day spenders, Love Index survey shows

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Hong Kong men are Asia's biggest-spending romantics but cupid has been busiest in Thailand, according to the Mastercard Love Index, which tracks Valentine's Day spending in Asia Pacific.

The survey showed that 44 percent of people across the APAC region planned to buy gifts to give their loved one, or ones, on February 14.

Thais are the most enthusiastic gift-fivers, with 79 percent of Love Index respondents saying they intended to buy their special someone a present, followed by Chinese at 72 percent and Hong Kongers at 65 percent.

Just 41 percent of Aussies, meanwhile, plan to buy a gift, and only 39 percent of Kiwis. Indonesians were even less enamored with Valentine's Day, with just 10 percent of respondents going gift shopping. And at just 9 percent, Sri Lankans came in bottom as Valentine's gift-givers.

Eric Schneider, APAC regional head at Mastercard Advisors, said the results of the survey were unexpected.

"What's surprising is that Valentine's Day is more popular in markets such as Thailand, China, and Malaysia, than Australia and New Zealand; places that have more of a tradition of marking the day," he said.

APAC's romantics plan to spend $100 on average on Valentine's Day presents, with Hong Kong male respondents the most generous, planning to spend $273 on presents, while love-struck consumers in China plan to spend an average of $239.

People in Sri Lanka plan to spend the least in the region on presents at $15, followed by Indonesia consumers who plan to spend $16 on romantic gifts.

The findings show that male consumers' spending expectations were about 40 percent higher than those of women's. The disparity between male and female spending was particularly big in New Zealand, Japan and India.

Only in Sri Lanka and South Korea were women likely to spend more lavishly on their partners.

The most popular gift was flowers, the survey found, with 30 percent of the Valentine's money spend in Asia Pacific likely to go on blooms.

Jewelry was the other popular choice, accounting for 14 percent of Valentine's Day expenditure from 2013 to 2015 in the region, and 16 percent of gifts this year.

Some of the jewelry expenditure could well be in the form of engagement rings, as MasterCard's survey found that nearly three-quarters of consumers in China and Vietnam considered 14 February the best day for a marriage proposal.

More than half of respondents in Hong Kong, South Korea and Thailand were of the same view.

But overall, experiences were more popular than gifts; the survey found 36 percent of the money spent for Valentine's Day went on hotels, another 24 percent went on restaurants.

Schneider said that APAC consumers were spending increasing amounts on Valentine's Day, clocking a 23 percent rise from 2013 to 2015.

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