It’s time to start up the Christmas music, dust off the tinsel, and order the Santa hats, as transaction data from Worldpay reveals the last week in October is the official start of the pre-Christmas shopping rush.
According to Worldpay, Britain’s leading payment processing company, the number of card transactions processed by UK retailers in the last week of October rose by 7% last year compared to previous weeks. This marked the start of an upward spike which reached its peak in the week before Christmas when transaction volumes on the high street were 42% higher than on an average week in September-October.
Worldpay’s data also reveals who in the UK are the most organised and generous at Christmas time. Department stores in Brighton start seeing festive uplift as early as the third week in September, followed closely by Leeds where the Christmas shopping spike starts in the first week of October. And there’s evidence of a North/South divide when it comes to generosity of the wallet – in the last week before Christmas non-food retail spending in Manchester peaks at 87% higher than an average week in September-October, while Newcastle shopper spend reaches 72% more than usual. However, Londoners’ spending during the festive season increases the least of all the regions, spiking at just 45% higher than average.
Dave Hobday, managing director, Worldpay UK, said: “With shoppers already taking to the streets to get their Christmas shopping done early, retailers need to look for new ways to steal a march on their competitors and get Christmas all wrapped up.
“Increasingly we’re seeing the high street turn to technology, as retailers of all sizes invest in mobile point of sale systems, which can integrate with an iPad or other mobile device. Not only does this technology reduce queues by allowing staff to take payments anywhere in-store, it also links directly to ecommerce – which means they have a powerful sales tool in their hands, and need never lose the sale this season.”