Christmas spending to hit £50 billion

Dec 16, 2010   //   by sam   //   Banking and Savings Accounts  //  Comments Off on Christmas spending to hit £50 billion

The UK is headed for a bumper Christmas spend this year, despite disruption caused by heavy snow earlier in the month.

According to Barclays, the nation is expected to spend a record £48.9 billion on Christmas this year – up 8% on last years figures.

It is likely that   some towns and cities will be abnormally busy after many had to postpone shopping trips due to treacherous weather conditions.

According to the figures, December 23rd is expected to see the highest volume of debit and credit card spending, with more than £1 billion in sales.

Meanwhile, predictions say that Christmas eve will see the highest cash withdrawal volumes from ATM’s, peaking between 11am – 12pm with an estimated £24,000 withdrawn every second as shoppers raid savings accounts in a final bid to finish off any last minute shopping.According to the figures, a record £30 billion will be spent on debit cards throughout December. Despite the freezing weather conditions earlier in the month and further cold spells to come, most transactions will still take place on the high street, with online shopping making up just over a quarter of the total debit card spend.

Most debit card spending will take place in supermarkets, with an estimated £6.4 billion set to hit the checkouts as people prepare to indulge over the festive period.

Fueling stations will also see sales of around £1.6 billion in debit card transactions, as people travel to their Christmas destination to settle down for a long weekend.   Meanwhile ATM’s will give out £18 billion this month.

{The high spending levels are also expected to continue after Christmas, with anyone that likes a bargain making the most of the sales during the extra bank holidays as Christmas and Boxing day fall on a weekend this year. Many will also be looking to avoid the VAT rise next month by making any large purchases now.

London will see the busiest crowds this month,   with the likes of Oxford Street and Westfield taking more than £5 billion in sales throughout December alone.

Dan Wass, Director of Current Accounts at Barclays said: “The early snow falls this month meant that the start of December was a little quieter on the high street than expected.   This is likely to put even greater pressure on retailers as we draw to the end of the Christmas countdown, with customers being forced to do their shopping at the last minute.

We urge customers to stay safe in busy areas and encourage them to use their debit cards rather than carrying large amounts of cash.   Nearly all shops, restaurants, bars and online companies accept debit cards so it is the easiest way to get your Christmas spending done quickly and securely. We would remind customers to take care of their card and their PIN, especially when using their PIN in crowded places.

Budgeting is also essential – customers can use Barclays mobile banking to keep track of their balance whilst they are out shopping.   They can also sign up to weekly text alerts for a mini-statement of their bank account.”

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