Brits gear up for £17bn festive spending spree

The average Briton will splurge £383 on Christmas shopping this year, according to research from MoneySuperMarket.

Christmas shopping

As a nation, that means we will spend an incredible £17 billion on our Christmas celebrations.

And our research indicates that it is middle-aged people in Wales and the North East of England who will be splashing the most cash.

Who is spending what?

You might think that wealthy Londoners will be spending the most on Christmas cheer. But no: our figures show that those living in the North East of England are the most generous when it comes to a festive spending spree.

They expect to shell out £471 this Christmas, compared to an average spend of just £384 in the capital.

And the North East is not the only region where Christmas spending exceeds that in London.

For example:

  • In Wales, the average spend is £415
  • In the East of England, the typical Christmas bill is £413
  • In the West Midlands, shoppers splash out an average of £409.

Lower spending regions include:

  • North West at £361
  • South West at £359 and
  • Yorkshire & Humber at just £318.

What we spend at Christmas does not just depend on where we live, of course. Age is also a big factor.

We found that:

  • those aged 35 to 54 will spend an average of £418
  • those aged 18 to 34 will typically spend £397
  • those over 55 will generally spend about £339.

And more than a fifth of all shoppers expect to spend more on the festive season this year than last.

So where are we finding the funds?

Some two thirds of Christmas shoppers will fund their purchases by dipping into their savings…

  • 33% will use money they’ve been putting aside especially for the festive season
  • 34% will use their general savings to cover their Christmas costs.

But about one in three shoppers will have to get into debt to fund their festive spending. Of those who will borrow this festive season:

  • 25% will use a credit card
  • 9% will use an overdraft
  • 7% will use a loan
  • 6% will borrow from family or friends.

Red Christmas?

And that means it’s vital for them not to fall into the same trap as the many Brits who are still in the red after overspending on Christmas last year.

Of those still in debt from last Christmas:

  • the average amount owed is £183
  • 40% owe between £201 and £250
  • 13% owe more than £251.

Managing your finances

Kevin Mountford, head of banking at MoneySuperMarket said: “With only one payday left for many people until Christmas, it is important to take steps now to manage your finances.

“If you need to borrow money, then a credit card offering interest free purchases could be a good option to spread the cost of Christmas.

“However, you must pay off the debt in the New Year or risk being hit by heavy interest charges.”

Credit cards offering 0% on purchases include:

  • M&S Credit Card at 0% for 19 months on purchases and 15 months at 0% on balance transfers, subject to a 2.9% fee.

SPECIAL OFFER: Apply via MoneySuperMarket by November 30 and use the card by December 31 and you will also get a £30 M&S voucher.

  • Tesco Clubcard Credit Card with No Fee at 0% for 12 months on purchases and balance transfers.
  • Halifax Purchase Credit Card at 0% for 20 months at 0% on purchases and for six months on balance transfers, with a 1% fee.

But beware: all these cards have representative APRs of 18.9% that will kick in once the interest-free deals come to an end.

Please note: any rates or deals mentioned in this article were available at the time of writing. Click on a highlighted product and apply direct.

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