Credit cards Updated:
Britons are planning to raid online retailers this Christmas, as almost half of all festive gifts are to be purchased on the internet.
A whopping £16.7 billion is estimated to be spent on Christmas gifts this year, but only just more than half (57%) will be handed over on the UK's high streets, according to research from Santander Credit Cards.
The average consumer will spend £359 on presents this festive season, with over a third (38%) of their outlay being spent with online UK retailers, equivalent to £6.4 billion.
Shopping online has increased dramatically in recent years, as prices online are often markedly cheaper than in-store.
A further £838 million (5%) of this year's festive spend will be received by firms based overseas.
Some 4.2 million (9%) Christmas shoppers plan to buy Christmas gifts from online retailers based overseas this season spending on average around 35% of their total.
The same number of people will spend around a quarter (23%) of their festive budget on Christmas shopping while abroad this year.
"With many people tightening their belts, shopping for Christmas gifts online can provide a more cost effective and convenient way of shopping," Ian Coles, director for Santander Cards, commented.
"Others are perhaps hoping to seek out a different choice of goods and in some cases preferable exchange rates, with our research showing that around four million people are planning to do all or part of their Christmas shopping abroad."
When buying big ticket items online this Christmas, it is worth bearing in mind that using a credit card means you get the best protection should something go wrong.
That's because all purchases of £100 or more are covered when using a credit card, so if an online retailer should happen to disappear off the face of the planet before your new television is shipped, you'll be covered.
Do remember to pay off your balance in full, or at least part of it, on time, however, as the interest on costly gifts soon adds up.
You can check and apply for the best credit cards currently on the market at the Moneyfacts.co.uk Best Buy tables.
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