Christmas has long been the UK's biggest shopping season, with consumers spending in their millions in the attempt to create the perfect day. Retailers will do everything in their power to get their share of all that spending, but the switch to online shopping has given them a whole new battleground to fight on – and the battle of the biggest shopping days of the year has well and truly begun.
The biggest festive spending sprees
Research from Halifax has identified the busiest shopping days of the year, and based on debit card transactions, last year's Black Friday was the second-busiest day for spending in the year, with around 2 million more transactions carried out on that Friday than any other in the year – representing a 34% increase on the average Friday.
The only other day to see more spending was the day before Christmas Eve, but even these 9.3 million transactions were just 2% above Black Friday figures. It's too early to tell whether this year's Black Friday continued the trend, but given how bargain hunting took the nation by storm on Friday, there's no reason to expect otherwise.
But, what about Cyber Monday? We're in the midst of it as we speak, and although it hasn't yet come close to the transaction numbers of Black Friday, it still sees a boost – last year Cyber Monday was the biggest Monday of the year (excluding the day before Christmas Eve), with it being 24% busier than the average Monday.
Anthony Warrington, director of Halifax Current Accounts, says: "It is often noted that Christmas appears to be starting earlier each year, and the data suggests that this is indeed the case. As UK retailers increasingly adopt the US-style Black Friday promotions and discounts, we are starting to see the day after Thanksgiving become a major retail event for us here, too."
Of course, it isn't all about specific days. The season itself sees a significant rise in the number of transactions, with the average number of debit card purchases for November and December being 9% higher than the 10 months preceding it – over half a million more daily transactions take place in these months, showing just how much people spend during the festive season.
Anthony Warrington continues: "This is an expensive time of year, and the data suggests that the last minute dash to the shops is still very much a feature. However, more of us have started to plan our shopping, with [last] weekend sounding the starting gun to the countdown to Christmas spending."
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