£1.3bn to be spent on British high street as shoppers make last-minute dash for Christmas presents, Visa Europe predicts


Spending on the UK high street will peak at £1.3bn on Visa cards on Wednesday 23 December, just two days before Christmas, according to Visa Europe. Shoppers will make 37m transactions, up 10% in 2014, and total spending is predicted to rise by 3% from the previous year.

Transactions are expected to peak between 1pm and 2pm when workers use their lunch break to head to their local high street, making over 3.2m transactions in the sixty minutes.

Traditionally, the busiest shopping day falls two days before Christmas. This year, despite the festive shopping period beginning earlier and Cyber Weekend being largely an online affair, the busiest shopping day is set to continue its traditional pattern as people make last minute trips to stores to buy gifts, food, drink, decorations and party essentials.

Saturday 19 December, the last Saturday before Christmas, will also see an increase in high street footfall as consumers are expected to make over 34 million transactions on Visa cards, up 10% on 2014 and up 10% on average of the previous fourSaturday’s.

Kevin Jenkins, managing director UK & Ireland at Visa Europe, said: “On December 23rd, Brits will race to the high-street to pick up last-minute presents, despite starting their Christmas shopping early this year with record amounts spent online on Black Friday. In keeping with previous years, the busiest day for Christmas shopping this year will be two days before Christmas where we are likely to see £1.3bn spent on the high street.”

“More than £1 million will be spent on Visa cards every minute, rising to nearer £2m every minute during the lunch time rush, between 1pm and 2pm. In that hour, over three million face to face transactions are expected to take place. Shoppers will demand quick and easy purchases during this busy period, and retailers with a contactless offering are likely to be the winners as they could see shorter queuing times and happier customers.”

“As consumers turn to their mobiles and tablets to take advantage of retailers’ last-minute click and collect services in the run up to the 23rd, retailers may also see a surge in footfall on the day, with the opportunity for further shopping in-store when consumers arrive. With shoppers having more choice about where and how to buy than ever before, it’s an opportunity for retailers to get their multi-channel offering right”.

As £1 in every £3 in the UK is spent on a Visa card, Visa Europe has unrivalled data to provide insight into consumer spending.  Visa bases its predictions on up to the minute spending data and Christmas spending trends from previous years.