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Panic buying and ‘re-gifting’ on the horizon with more than half the UK still to complete Christmas shopping

New consumer research from Barclaycard’s Freedom Rewards1 shows that with only a week left until Christmas Day, a massive 26 million of us2 (55%) still have gifts to buy. This last minute shopping is leading many of us to compromise on quality, as 20 million (43%) admit to being ‘panic purchasers’ that would rather buy an unsuitable gift than have nothing at all.

Most of us have also been on the receiving end of a panic purchase, with two in five 41% of adults admitting they have one family member or a particular friend who is renowned for buying ‘dud’ gifts every year.

We’re even more of a last minute shopping nation this Christmas compared to 2012, with 15% admitting to being more disorganised, and having done less Christmas shopping this year compared to the same time last year. Only 13% of us are more organised than last year which goes some way to explain why more than 8 million presents (17%) will be ‘re-gifted’ this year.

Early-bird vs. last minute shoppers

While a third of the nation (36%) believes that early-bird Christmas shoppers spend less than those who leave it to the last minute, those who still have shopping left to do disagree.

The top reason given by those who still have to tackle their gift list is that they want to make the most of the pre-Christmas sales (25%). They also argue that they don’t care any less about the gifts they buy, but instead they love shopping close to Christmas when the shops are filled with Christmas spirit (25%) and that they’ve simply not had the time before (23%).

Shoppers who have already done all of their Christmas shopping said they do it throughout the year to get the best deals (37%) and buy perfect gifts as they spot them (22%). Over a quarter (27%) though, admit it’s actually because they hate Christmas shopping so much that they want to get it over with as quickly as possible.

Ruth Langsford, an ambassador for Barclaycard’s Freedom Rewards credit card and herself an ardent planner, said:

“When it comes to Christmas shopping, whether you love it or hate it, we all have our own way of doing it. Some buy everything in a single day, and others string it out over a number of months, but the majority of us do manage to get gifts under the tree for Christmas morning.

“I personally like to plan and I bought all of my Christmas gifts over a month ago. I’d be too nervous to leave everything to the last minute, although I’m sure I could be missing out on some Pre-Christmas deals. I will definitely be one of the third of people (32%) buying Christmas decorations and gifts for next year in the January sales!”

Craig Evans, Director of Partnerships at Barclaycard Freedom Rewards, said:

“Christmas is a wonderful time of year but it can be costly. We know the importance of making your money stretch as far as possible. That’s why we designed our Freedom Rewards credit card – to reward you wherever and however you shop. Indeed our research shows that nearly two-thirds of adults (61%) will be using the points collected on various loyalty cards throughout the year to help buy Christmas gifts. Rather than carry lots of reward cards though, Barclaycard’s Freedom Rewards credit card rewards you for all your spending, wherever you choose to shop.”

Barclaycard’s Freedom Rewards credit card

Knowing that 30% of an average family’s weekly budget is spent on groceries and petrol, Barclaycard gives double points at any UK petrol station or supermarket. So wherever consumers choose to go, they get the best value.

Cardholders can also earn triple points at the online Freedom Rewards store with over 50 favourite brands. Points are then turned into Freedom Rewards vouchers which can be redeemed at over 70 Freedom partners - the broadest range of high street brands, big online names and great places to visit available on the market.

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