United Kingdom / Press Releases
Christmas Spending to Top £51.1 Billion in December
by Nadine Fisher, Industry Analyst
Dec 13 2018

Despite Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals dragging spending into November, this December is still expected to be a big one for British retail, with shoppers spending a total of £51.1 billion over December.

Last year, December spending was 1.5% lower than in November and, although many shoppers have become more discerning of Black Friday deals, this trend is expected to continue. Nevertheless, according to the Bank of England, households spend £500 above their usual expenditure during December.



Last Christmas, budget supermarkets were the big winners for food sales. Aldi and Lidl both reported a 16.8% rise in sales over the three months through December. This year, the price of Christmas fare is expected to rise, with a key retail trend being a move towards a greater range of vegetarian options. Spending on food over December is expected to rise by 2.8% on the previous year to reach £22.7 billion.

Washing down the yuletide feast will be £2.8 billion of alcohol over the Christmas season. UK households are expected to spend approximately £600 million on alcohol on Christmas day alone. Consumers spend £36 million on gin in the week before Christmas, a boon for the burgeoning British gin industry. Other popular Christmas drinks include port, rum, champagne and mulled wine.

Last year, 864 million Christmas cards were sent out, according to the GCA’s UK Greeting card market report. Single cards cost £1.75, an increase of 2p from 2016. Many Christmas cards, however, are sold in packs, which offer considerable savings on single cards. Cards will continue to be popular, despite lower demand from millennials and those concerned with the environmental impact of cards. Charities estimate that £50 million is raised through the sales of Christmas cards. Rising prices will push up the total spending on Christmas cards by an estimated 2.1% to reach £247.4 million.  

Spending on presents is expected to total £23.9 billion over Christmas 2018, an increase of 2.6% from the previous year. Clothes are expected to be the most popular type of present bought, while spending on electrical goods is expected to be the highest of all present product segments in terms of value. The success of online retailers is expected to continue while high streets see a decline in footfall from 2017.

Finally, 4.25 million Brits are expected to get away from it all this Christmas, with overseas travel by UK residents worth an estimated £1.5 billion. Families with young children are likely to visit traditional Christmas destinations such as Lapland, while the popularity of sunny exotic destinations are also on the rise. For those on a budget, European city breaks are likely to be more popular.


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