Panic Saturday Christmas spending set to peak at £1.5bn, reports Worldpay


The weekend before Christmas could see Britain’s high-street retailers bring in £1.5bn in sales, analysis from Worldpay’s Insights Services team reveals.

According to the payments processor, which handles 42% of all UK card transactions, its data suggests retailers can expect to double their takings this Saturday, with in-store sales rising by as much as 164% compared to a typical weekend’s trading.

Middlesbrough residents are most likely to leave their Christmas shopping until late. The town had the highest rise in sales during the last weekend before Christmas, at 164% more than an average weekend, followed by Walsall (159%) and Wigan (151%).

Handling £455m worth of payments in the final weekend before Christmas last year, Worldpay claims national spending on cards could reach £1.1bn as panicked shoppers make a last-minute dash to the high street. That figure could top £1.5bn once cash transactions are factored in.

Worldpay research suggests consumers will spend an average of £431 on gifts for friends and family this Christmas. And while nearly a third of Brits claim to have finished their shopping before December, one in ten will leave it until Christmas Eve to finish buy their last gifts.

Dave Hobday, managing director, Worldpay UK, said: “Things haven’t been easy for bricks and mortar retailers this year, with empty stores on Black Friday symptomatic of how consumers are increasingly choosing to hunt for discount deals online rather than hitting the high-street.

“This weekend is all about the high-street, and there’s certain to be some pressure on retailers to make sure every customer converts into a sale. Stressed shoppers want someone to take the pain out of Panic Saturday, and retailers are increasingly turning to technology to give them an edge. Technologies like mobile payment devices which enable staff to take payments anywhere in-store, can make the difference between a busy day and a chaotic one.”

Research conducted by Worldpay found in-store tensions begin to rise after just five minutes stood in a queue, with 41% of consumers claiming anything in excess of a five minute wait would see them abandon their purchase and head out of the door for good.