Woman shopping online at Christmas

Brits head online to treat themselves to £2.7bn worth of festive sale items

  • The nation plans to spend an average of £162 each online in the post-Christmas sales, totalling £2.7bn billion across the UK
  • The spending surge is largely down to Brits feeling especially generous, with a quarter planning to treat loved ones they have missed this year
  • The research, which reflects the latest tier 4 restrictions in England and those in the rest of the UK, reveals that the majority of shoppers will turn online for their sales fix, even where non-essential stores are open

Brits are planning to splash out £2.7bn* in this year’s post-Christmas sales in a bid to treat friends and family, as well as themselves, after a challenging 2020.

New research** from Barclaycard, which sees nearly half of the nation’s credit and debit card transactions, reveals that UK shoppers plan to spend an average of £162 each online, on items in the sales.

Boxing Day is the most popular day to start sales shopping, with over a quarter (27 per cent) looking to make purchases on this day, up slightly from 2019 (25 per cent).

One in four (24 per cent) early birds intended to start sales shopping on Christmas Eve, while 17 per cent planned to shop on Christmas Day itself – an uplift from 21 per cent and 14 per cent respectively from 2019 – indicating that Brits having quieter Christmases than usual will be using the time to shop online.

Post-pandemic pampering

Treats and last-minute gifts will be the most popular purchases in the sales this year. A quarter (25 per cent) say they’ll be looking for presents for themselves as they deserve a treat due to the impact of the pandemic, while a similar number (24 per cent) say they’ll be treating friends and family more than usual, for the same reason.

With many loved ones not able to see each other due to coronavirus restrictions, a thrifty 22 per cent are also taking advantage of post-Christmas sales to buy last minute presents for those they won’t see over the holidays.

Great expectations

The anticipated popularity of the 2020 sales is spurred on by 42 per cent of savvy shoppers expecting retailers to have stock to clear after lockdown closures. In fact, more than three in five (61 per cent) won’t consider shopping with a retailer unless they have a sale on.

A third (33 per cent) also plan to spend more in the post-Christmas sales than they did during Black Friday and Cyber Monday, with the main reason cited being that the post-Christmas deals are better (32 per cent).

Online reigns supreme

Reflecting the new restrictions being introduced across the UK, and many stores closed over the festive period, the majority (68 per cent) of Brits will be shopping online this year, averaging £162 per person. In regions where non-essential stores are open, the average amount planned to be spent in-store is lower at £78 per person.

When asked about the impact of possible stricter lockdown measures being introduced in their region, and non-essential stores closing, almost three in ten (29 per cent) said they planned to spend the same amount, moving all of their spend online instead.

Restrictions helped many save for Christmas

A third (33 per cent) of Brits say the money saved on socialising this year has helped them to finance Christmas, with 22 per cent expecting to spend more in the sales as a result. However, 41 per cent of those who have saved money have opted to put it into savings.

When it comes to popular purchases, fashion items such as clothes and shoes are at the top of Brits’ sales wish list (27 per cent), followed by food and drink (23 per cent), homeware (20 per cent) and stationery, such as 2021 diaries (18 per cent).

Rob Cameron, CEO of Barclaycard Payments, said: “The Boxing Day and post-Christmas sales are much-loved British traditions and, following a tough year, retailers will be encouraged to see that shoppers are feeling generous this festive season.  

“Although merchants continue to face challenges, we know that many bricks-and-mortar stores have invested in their ecommerce offering to ensure they’re as prepared as possible for the digital sales rush. While high street footfall will be down, we’re optimistic that an online shopping boost will give retailers a much-needed uplift as they head into the New Year.”


– Ends –


Notes to editors

*Everyone who plans to shop in the post-Christmas sales (636 respondents, or 32% of total survey respondents) said they would spend an average of £161.70 each online. 32% of UK adult population (32% of 52,673,433) multiplied by £161.70 online figure = £2,725,534,117 (£2.7bn).

**Consumer research in this press release was carried out between 1st December and 3rd December 2020 and 18th and 21st December by Opinium Research on behalf of Barclaycard. The research questions asking people how much they would spend in the post-Christmas sales were asked after the Tier 4 measures in England and restrictions across the UK were introduced on 19 December, and before the Government’s additional changes to the tiering system announced on 23 December. 

There were 2,001 respondents, providing a representative sample of UK consumers by age, gender, region, and income group.

For more information, please contact the MHP Barclaycard press office team on mhpbarclaycardspend@mhpc.com or 07809 539376.

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. In the UK we process nearly £1 in every £3 spent using credit and debit cards, and in 2019 we processed over £272bn in transactions globally. We also partner with a wide range of organisations across the globe to offer their customers or members payment options and credit.


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