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Brits set to spend £3.7 billion in the post-Christmas sales – but sustainability concerns lead many to cut back

Wed Dec 25 19:01:00 EST 2019

  • Four in ten UK adults will shop in the post-Christmas sales this year, spending an average of £186 each
  • However, nearly two thirds of consumers will buy fewer sale items in a bid to be more environmentally friendly
  • Brighton shoppers top the list as most likely to prioritise sustainable fashion, followed by Plymouth, Birmingham and Newcastle
  • Barclaycard data shows that while Boxing Day spending was 4.8 per cent higher in 2018 compared to 2017, a bumper Black Friday may reduce the amount spent this year

Shoppers are set to spend £3.7 billion* in this year’s post-Christmas sales, £200 million less than last year, as environmental concerns drive down purchases.

According to new research from Barclaycard**, which processes nearly half of all credit and debit card transactions in the UK, four in ten UK adults (38 per cent) plan to shop in the post-Christmas sales this year, spending an average of £186 each.

Men are set to shell out the most, at £231 per person, while women expect to spend an average of £141.

In a sign of the ongoing popularity of the experience economy, one in two Brits (50 per cent) are looking to spend more on discounted ‘things to do’, such as tickets for events and entertainment, in favour of buying material items, rising to 64 per cent of millennials (aged 25 – 34).

Online sales are also set to overshadow in-store spending, with 60 per cent of post-Christmas sales shoppers making the majority of purchases from the comfort of their own homes.

Sustainability focus shapes sales spending

Due to concerns about the environment, six in ten Brits (62 per cent) intend to make fewer purchases in this year’s post-Christmas sales. This rises to 68 per cent of women, compared to 56 per cent of men, and might be why women expect to spend less overall.

At a city level, Brighton residents are the most environmentally conscious shoppers, with three quarters (73 per cent) saying they’ll cut back on buying in the post-Christmas sales to reduce the impact of their purchasing behaviour on the planet. Plymouth, Birmingham and Newcastle come equal second at 66 per cent.

Almost seven in ten (67 per cent) consumers also plan to spend less on ‘fast fashion’ because of the potential environmental impact of production.

The impact of Black Friday on Boxing Day spending

Looking back at sales figures for last year’s Boxing Day, Barclaycard data shows that spending was up – rising 4.8 per cent in 2018 compared to 2017***. However, with the recent Black Friday discounts breaking spending records (Barclaycard data shows an increase of 16.5 per cent in value year-on-year), some shoppers may have already made the majority of their purchases. Just 33 per cent say they plan to spend more on Boxing Day than they did during the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales.

Rob Cameron, CEO of Barclaycard Payments said: “Despite Boxing Day remaining a key moment in the retail calendar, savvy shoppers have been planning their large purchases throughout the entire festive sales period, which begins long before December. Our data for Black Friday and Cyber Monday revealed a huge jump in transaction volumes this year, so it’s not surprising that consumers expect to have less money to spend after Christmas, so retailers need to take that into account.

“What’s more, our research shows that shoppers are increasingly thinking about how their purchases impact the environment. Forward-thinking retailers should be making a conscious effort to demonstrate their commitment to sustainability, in order to boost their appeal – and their revenue.”

Proportion of city residents who will cut back on the number of items they buy in this year’s post-Christmas sales due to concerns about the environment

Brighton

73 %

Plymouth

66 %

Birmingham

66 %

Newcastle

66 %

Belfast

65 %

Cardiff

65 %

Nottingham

64 %

Liverpool

63 %

London

63 %

Manchester

63 %

Norwich

61 %

Bristol

61 %

Leeds

59 %

Sheffield

59 %

Edinburgh

53 %

Glasgow

53 %

Southampton

48 %

Percentage of residents planning to shop in the post-Christmas sales

Sheffield

47%

London

47%

Newcastle

45%

Liverpool

44%

Brighton

44%

Plymouth

43%

Manchester

37%

Leeds

37%

Cardiff

36%

Nottingham

35%

Birmingham

33%

Southampton

32%

Glasgow

30%

Belfast

29%

Edinburgh

28%

Norwich

26%

Bristol

26%


Notes to editors

For more information please contact Julia Bush on +44 (0)7833 285 716 or Julia.bush@cohnwolfe.com.

* 3.7 billion calculated as 38 per cent of the UK adult population (52,383,965) x average spend (£186) = £3,702,498,646.20. Population figures taken from Office for National Statistics, Overview of the UK population: August 2019.

** Opinium Research carried out an online survey of 2,002 UK adults aged 18+ from 29 November to 3 December 2019. Results have been weighted to nationally representative criteria.

*** Figures based on Barclaycard Credit and Barclays Debit card transactions from 26th December 2017 and 26th December 2018.

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 2018 we processed nearly £268bn 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 organisations across the globe to offer their customers or members payment options and credit.

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