Retailers set to win in Christmas sales period as more consumers plan to bag a bargain

  • Almost two thirds (64 per cent) of Brits will be splashing out during this year’s festive sales period, with Boxing Day reigning supreme as the most popular day to spend. A third of shoppers plan to buy discounted goods on 26 December, up from a quarter in 2016.
  • For those who do plan to shop, the majority (57 per cent) will be browsing the sales online, with 43 per cent hitting the high street to find the best deals.  42 per cent also expect to spend the most money online, compared to 26 per cent who will spend most in-store
  • Londoners will be this year’s biggest spenders; consumers in the region plan to spend an average of £240 in the sales, followed by the West Midlands (£203) and Yorkshire (£200)
  • Overall, Barclaycard data shows spending on Boxing Day remains steady – rising 1 per cent in 2016 compared to 2015 – yet more is now spent on traditional sales purchases such as clothing and electronics on Black Friday than Boxing Day

New research from Barclaycard suggests more shoppers will be buying in the traditional Boxing Day sales period than in 2016, with a combination of rising prices and improved financial positions supporting Britons’ spending intentions.

A third (34 per cent) of Brits will shop in the festive sales on Boxing Day – up from a quarter (23 per cent) last year - according to Barclaycard, which processes nearly half of all debit and credit card transactions in the UK. One in four (26 per cent) will shop on Christmas Eve – up from one in five (20 per cent) in 2016 – and one in seven (15 per cent) will shop on Christmas Day.   

Consumer appetite for the post-Christmas sales dampened in 2016 against a backdrop of an extended discounting period that, for many retailers, began on Black Friday and continued well into December. However, months of ‘feeling the squeeze’ throughout 2017 is driving many consumers to maximise their budgets by spending more on sales items this year – both on Black Friday and on Boxing Day.

More than half (51 per cent) of shoppers are planning to spend more on Boxing Day than they did on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, which could mean big business for retailers.  Online stores are set to reap the biggest rewards, with more than four in 10 (42 per cent) shoppers expecting to spend most money in the online sales, compared to just over a quarter (26 per cent) who said the same about their in-store spend. This is despite the fact that shoppers will be splitting their time fairly equally between online (57 per cent) and in-store (43 per cent) browsing.

‘Accidental’ purchases are one of the main reasons why shoppers think they will spend most in-store, with over a third (34 per cent) saying they will end up buying something they didn’t plan to on the high street. Of those who will spend the most online, more than half (53 per cent) simply want to avoid the queues and crowds, while a third (33 per cent) don’t want to brave the winter weather, preferring the comfort of shopping from their own home.  More than four in 10 (44 per cent) say they will be using their smartphone for online purchases.

For those who are planning to disrupt their Christmas Day celebrations to stock up on sales items, a third (33 per cent) are motivated by the fear of missing out on the best bargains. A quarter (25 per cent) say it is simply because they will be bored and want something to do, while one in six (16 per cent) will be seeking a cut-price present for friends and family they are yet to see this Christmas period.

One in five bargain hunters (19 per cent) will stay up late on Christmas Eve to hit the online sales when they first launch, while one in seven (15 per cent) plan to shop online while in the company of friends and family. A similar proportion will even shop during Christmas lunch (13 per cent) as well as during the Queen’s Christmas Speech (13 per cent).

The reasons why consumers are planning to spend more overall speak to a number of external factors – notably inflationary pressures – that have impacted perceived purchasing power over the last 12 months. While more than one in five (22 per cent) have a higher disposable income compared to 2016, almost a quarter (23 per cent) are expecting prices to be higher this year, jumping to more than a third (34 per cent) who will be taking advantage of deals now ahead of anticipated price hikes in 2018.

Consumers in London are planning to splash out the most on sales goods, with an average predicted spend of £240 per person, followed by the West Midlands (£203) and Yorkshire (£200) – above the UK average of £176. As pre-Christmas discounts rise to record highs, savvy shoppers are also demanding more from retailers, with a third (33 per cent) of Christmas sales shoppers requiring at least a 50 per cent discount to make a purchase either online or in-store and the majority (63 per cent) also requiring free delivery and returns to commit to a purchase.

Paul Lockstone, Managing Director, at Barclaycard, said:

“Last year, Black Friday overshadowed Boxing Day sales as many retailers struggled to maintain consumer interest in what has become a month-long discounting event. This year, however, value-seeking consumers appear to be more eager to buy cut-price items across both sales periods as they try to combat rising prices.

“Although we will be shopping online and in-store in relatively equal measure, the comfort of mobile shopping from the sofa means e-commerce transactions are likely to outshine those of flagship retailers. This means that – whatever the occasion – searching for deals will still be a top priority for many Brits, even if that involves bagging a bargain over the Brussel sprouts.”

Notes to editors

  • For more information please contact Charlotte Brocklebank on 07725 683214 or
  • Opinium Research carried out an online survey of 2,000 UK adults aged 18+ from 12th to 14th of December 2017. Results have been weighted to nationally representative criteria.
  • The data in this release relates to 26th December 2016 and compares it to 26th December 2015.

About Barclaycard

Barclaycard, part of Barclays Bank PLC, is a leading global payment business that helps consumers, retailers and businesses to make and take payments flexibly, and to access short-term credit and point-of-sale finance. In 2016 we processed over £250bn in transactions globally. Barclaycard is a pioneer of new forms of payment and is at the forefront of developing viable contactless and mobile payment schemes for today and cutting-edge forms of payment for the future. We also partner with a wide range of

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