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Consumers set to spend £47 billion this Christmas

According to Barclays, supermarkets are set to take £5.6 billion over the festive season, whilst £1.4 billion is predicted to be spent on clothing and £740 million at department stores, with revellers hitting the shops in the busy final weekend before Christmas, updating their festive wardrobes and buying last-minute gifts. A further £890 million is predicted to be spent at restaurants, as consumers give themselves a break from the kitchen.

It comes as early indicators from Barclaycard show that consumer spending is up +2.8% so far this Christmas3, compared to last. This year’s Mega Monday saw total spending up +4.3% year-on-year, with online spending on the day up +9.7% on 2012 and accounting for nearly a third of all spending (29.5%) for the first time ever.

The growth was led by extra spending online on Family Clothing (+26%) and Electronics (+20.4%). Gaming also performed particularly strongly, up +39% overall with the late-November release of Microsoft’s X-Box One and Sony’s PS4 game consoles.

Barclays expects the busiest day for ATM withdrawals to be Friday 20th December, with over £1 billion being dispensed that day in preparation for a festive night out and the last weekend of Christmas shopping. The peak time for withdrawing cash is forecast to be between 12noon and 1pm, with £27,000 being taken out every second.

And despite the crowds, over 15 million4 of UK adults (31%) plan to go Christmas shopping this Saturday, according to new research from Barclaycard5, spending an average of £196 each on last minute gifts, food, drink and other festive fare.

Men (33%) are more likely than women (30%) to be shopping this Saturday. Amongst those shopping this Saturday men are likely to spend £243 on average, nearly £100 more than women who are likely to spend on average of £149.

Catherine McGrath , Managing Director, Retail Bank, Barclays said:

“Despite another tough year, we expect consumers to be out in force this weekend, picking up last minute gifts, food and decorations or simply soaking up the festive spirit, in preparation for Christmas. Retailers are giving great offers and discounts this year, and consumers are being savvier than ever to ensure they pick up a bargain.

“With shoppers set to spend over £47 billion this Christmas, we urge people to stay safe in busy areas and encourage them to use their debit or credit cards, instead of carrying around large amounts of cash. Keep your cards safe and ensure you cover your PIN during the busy festive period.”

Chris Wood, Managing Director, Barclaycard said:

“This year’s Christmas shopping has got off to a good start with spending since the beginning of November up +2.8% year-on-year, as consumers go shopping with a bit more confidence than they did last year.

“We continue to see shoppers practice fiscal responsibility and keep up their search for value by shifting more of their shopping online and waiting for discount days such as Black Friday and Mega Monday. Spending online on Mega Monday was up +9.7%, reaching nearly 30% of all spending for the very first time.

“The search for value is a pursuit that is paying off – we’ve seen average spend per transaction consistently come down, with shoppers now paying 5.4% less per transaction than they did three years ago.”

Top reasons why people will be shopping on Saturday 21st December:

  1. I’m quite organised, and I will have bought the majority of my presents already. This shopping trip will be for the final few items (25%)
  2. All my main presents will have been bought, but I will be shopping for stocking fillers and extra presents to store at home in case I need them (16%)
  3. I have done all of my present shopping, but I still have to buy food/ decorations or other Christmas related items (16%)
  4. I will have bought a few presents already, but will still have the majority left to buy (15%)
  5. I like to leave things to the last minute, and so this will be my first day of Christmas shopping – I will try and get it all done in one day (9%)
  6. I’ll have bought all my presents, and just want to go shopping to revel in the festive spirit (6%)