Worldpay reports record-breaking December as UK casts off spending shackles

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UK shoppers reached for the plastic in record numbers in the run-up to Christmas according the latest data from Worldpay, the UK’s leading payments processor. Worldpay handled an unprecedented 600m credit and debit card transactions in the UK during December, a rise of more than 15% compared to 2013.

A wave of last-minute spending on everything from turkeys to tiaras saw 23rd December emerge as Worldpay’s single busiest day of the year with over 26m transactions processed across the UK. The most concentrated burst of shopping came a12:40pm on Christmas Eve where Worldpay clocked a peak of 651 payments per second.

Meanwhile, on the e-commerce side, heavy-discounting and promotional offers saw Black Friday (28 November) eclipse other traditional retail hotspots including Cyber Monday (1st December) and Manic Monday (8  December). Worldpay data suggests the controversial US import may be difficult for businesses to ignore with online transaction volumes alone rising by 74% compared to 2013. Equivalent online figures for Cyber Monday and Manic Monday showed a decrease in spending of 12% and 19% respectively.

Dave Hobday, managing director, Worldpay UK, said: “It’s been a fascinating Christmas period for the high street. Despite supermarkets reporting disappointing sales, our data shows consumer confidence and card spend is returning, and the frenzy around Black Friday is giving retailers a lot to think about.

“People haven’t stopped trekking to the high street for last-minute gifts, but heavy discounting prior to Christmas is gradually challenging the importance of other traditional hotspots, not least the January Sales. It would be a brave retailer who ignored this shift entirely, but the chaotic scenes on Black Friday did no-one any favours. Love it or loathe it, Black Friday is a new phenomenon changing the landscape of retail, which all businesses should be ready for in 2015.”