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Christmas panic reaches peak on 20th December as Brits rush to buy last minute gifts

With Christmas less than a week away, new research from Barclaycard[1] reveals that Brits are starting to feel the pressure as they search for last minute gifts for family and friends. In fact, with the clock ticking and the cut off for many online deliveries having been and gone, 20th December marks the day that Brits (15%) feel most panicked about buying Christmas gifts.

The research found that Brits are planning to spend an average of £32 on each gift this year, but over a third (34%) are likely to spend more the closer to Christmas they leave it. With a further third (36%) admitting to not monitoring their spending in the run up to Christmas, services such as mybarclaycard, the online account management tool from Barclaycard, are ideal as customers can check their spending wherever they are including when they’re on the go using their mobile phone.

Last minute gift buying

Over two million Brits are expected to hit the high street this week to do the majority of their Christmas shopping. With two fifths (40%) expecting to buy presents for at least 10 loved ones, there’s no wonder they feel stressed (34%), anxious (29%), panicked (10%), and unaware of our spending (8%) when doing last minute present buying.

Blowing the budget

Last year, Brits budgeted to spend an average of £362 on Christmas presents in total, but ended up going £65 over this. However, despite tougher economic conditions, almost two thirds (63%) plan to spend the same, if not more this year.

Finding the right gift appears to outweigh financial sense, as four out of five (80%) admit they’d be willing to go over budget if needed. This will see Brits spending an additional £9 on average per gift, with a fifth (20%) willing to go £15 or more above their budget.

David Chan, CEO of Barclaycard Consumer Europe comments: “It’s clear from our research that Brits lose track of their finances the closer to Christmas it gets, which puts them under increased pressure once the festivities are over. We want everyone to enjoy the Christmas holiday, and at the same time take the opportunity to maintain a view of their finances to ensure they don’t suffer as a result.

“Our mybarclaycard online account service helps make customers’ lives easier, enabling them to keep on top of their spending online or whilst on the move our .mobi site. They can even set up free text or email alerts to monitor their spending or alert them when they’re close to their credit limit.”

[1] 2000 consumers polled in December 2011 by OnePoll with UK adults who celebrate Christmas; research commissioned by Barclaycard