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Christmas shopping countdown

Cautious consumers prepare slowly for Christmas according to card expenditure data


Christmas shopping countdown

Cautious consumers prepare slowly for Christmas according to card expenditure data

Consumer spending on Visa debit, credit and prepaid cards in the UK increased 1.8% in the w/e 21st November compared to the same period in 2009. In comparison to last week’s expenditure figures, this represents a5.3% decrease.[1]

The data mirrors 2009 trends, which indicated that spending growth five weeks before Christmas dipped ahead of a strong upturn in the following weeks as consumers purchased their big ticket items.  With Mega Monday, the busiest online shopping day, set for Monday 29th November this year according to analysis by Visa Europe, spending levels could take a sharp upward turn following forthcoming pay days.

The data forms part of Visa Europe’s Christmas Spend Tracker, which is intended to give a clear and accurate picture of UK consumer spending in the run-up to Christmas as it is based on actual spend.

Total spend last week on the 91 million Visa debit, credit and prepaid cards in the UK was £6.9 billion compared to £7.3 billion the previous week. Of this, high street expenditure increased by 2.5% in comparison to last year’s figures, while online spending decreased slightly by 1.1% year-on-year.

Although average transaction value has increased week on week to £46.07 (up from £45.82) the figures are still lower than this time last year (£48.24) suggesting that consumers are still holding off on their larger item spend until the Christmas spending season is well and truly underway.

Category spending figures
Spending across the sectors was up 1.8% on last year, with the biggest increases seen in clothing & footwear (13.2%), followed by household goods at 10.1%. In terms of weekly comparisons, spending on food and drink had dropped considerably, decreasing by 11.2%. Spending on clothing and footwear was strongest online with sales up 0.8% on the previous week.

Dr Steve Perry, Commercial Director at Visa Europe, comments, “Consumers are currently exercising caution ahead of the high levels of spending we would expect to see on Mega Monday.  While shoppers last week were busy stocking their cupboards, it appears this week many are focusing on clothing and footwear – perhaps purchasing outfits for the Christmas party season. We expect to see an increase across all sectors in the coming weeks as consumers turn to buying Christmas presents as opposed to filling their Christmas cupboards and wardrobes.”

 [1]This is a like for like comparison adjusted to allow for card numbers, payment preferences and inflation.

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