UK Christmas Shopping

Christmas is a traditional religious festival that first dates back and was celebrated in A.D. 336, however over time the festival has changed and in the modern age, we celebrate with gifts and food being shared between family and friends.

The build-up to Christmas is one of the busiest and most profitable times of the year for retailers and starts earlier and earlier each year.

So, exactly how much is this time of year worth?

A pre-Christmas survey carried out by Deloitte Consumer Tracker in 2018 consisting of 9,169 consumers across 10 European countries revealed that:

  • UK consumers intended to spend an average of £567 on Christmas which was 42% more than the European average of £400.
  • Most UK consumers will spend their money on gifts, followed by food and drink, then socialising and finally travel.
  • More than 50% of the Christmas budget will be spent on gifts compared to 43% on average in Europe.
  • November is fast becoming the key month for Christmas purchases for UK shoppers, with only 12% shopping the week before Christmas Day.

Despite the rise in online shopping at Christmas and the rest of the year, the physical store still has a role to play. The main reason why consumers prefer to shop in stores is that it offers immediate gratification. Consumers also see stores as being a better destination to get good customer service, better personal data protection, and an enjoyable experience.

UK Christmas shopping image with wrapped festive presents

When do people start their Christmas shopping?

Christmas shopping has traditionally occurred in December when decorations go up and the Christmas songs start. But the emergence of online retail and shopping on mobile phones has meant this market has expanded to happen before December as proven by the below statement from the BBC:

“The festive retail season used to launch in December but now we’re bombarded with Christmas ads and sales from as early as October.”

Advertising is a key influence on the general public and has meant that consumers now think about shopping and presents earlier in the year. Another factor is the increasing cost of Christmas which has meant consumers want to spread the cost more rather than just one big expenditure in December. With the UK adopting the ‘Black Friday’ and ‘Cyber Monday’ craze, this has become an opportune time to get some good deals on presents before December.


As shown in this blog, shopping is big business at this time of year, I think all of us would agree with. But the different shopping holidays that have been created in November and the increased advertising means customers are planning their Christmas shopping earlier than ever. This shows that it is even more crucial for businesses to organise their merchant services (mainly if they are a seasonal business but other businesses as well). NetPay offers the perfect service for exactly this reason – short-term terminal rental – being able to have a terminal from anywhere between 1 and 60 days is perfect for seasonal business and with Christmas shopping happening earlier than ever this will provide a cheap seasonal terminal offering for the whole of the festive shopping period.

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