Last minute Christmas shopping could lead to £1.3bn being spent on UK high streets, and that's not the end of it: get ready for the Boxing Day and New Year sales

 
Madeline Ratcliffe
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Shoppers Brave The Crowds On 'Black Friday'
Leaving shopping to the last minute, one of those great Christmas traditions (Source: Getty)

If you've left your Christmas shopping to the last minute, you're not alone. Britons will spend £1.3bn on 23 December alone, which is set to be the busiest day on the high street. Expect crowds.

Shoppers will make 37 million in-store transactions on Wednesday, up 10 per cent from 2014, and total spending is predicted to rise by three per cent this year, according to data from Visa.

The busiest time is expected to be between 1pm and 2pm, when workers use their lunch breaks to panic buy presents, making over 3.2 million transactions in sixty minutes. You have been warned.

Read more: This is how London does its Christmas shopping

To put that in context, Experian and Interactive Media in Retail Group (IMRG) said £1.1bn was spent on the much-heralded Black Friday this year.

And it doesn't end there. The spending will even continue on Christmas Day, with data from Experian/IMRG suggesting £728m will be spent on Christmas Day itself, up 11 per cent from 2014.

Read more: No kidding, Britons feel ripped off at Christmas

The amount spent on Boxing Day, traditionally the first day of the sales, is predicted to be £856m, up 22 per cent, but shopping on New Year's day is expected to be less, around £368m, but up 33 per cent from last year.

Nick Jones from Experian, said:

Rightly or wrongly, we’ve seen more people than ever spending a significant proportion of their Christmas Day shopping online. Due to the rise of the use of personal connected devices, consumers can now shop for bargains on their mobile or tablet when they have a spare couple of minutes – even if that does mean sneaking away from the festivities and risking the wrath of family members.

Experian has found that Black Friday and post-Christmas shoppers are two very distinct tribes. The majority of shoppers taking advantage of the the early-season Black Friday sales period live outside the major city centres in rural locations.

Bargain-hunters on Boxing Day and New Year’s Day live in cities and are likely to shop in-store. There's a mix of young and older shoppers, with groups of 26-35-year-olds and 56-65-year-olds. They're also less likely to have children than the Black Friday shoppers.

Jones added: “We have already witnessed record-breaking spending over the festive period. On Black Friday to Cyber Monday weekend, spending reached a phenomenal £3.3bn across the four days. Though the post-Christmas sales period might not reach these heights, retailers are certainly in for more bumper sales as consumers look to take advantage of further Christmas offers."

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