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£1.3bn to be spent on the British high street as shoppers make last-minute dash for Christmas presents

Press Release   •   Dec 18, 2015 00:00 GMT

18th December 2015: Spending on the UK high street will peak at £1.3 billion on Visa cards on Wednesday 23rd December, just two days before Christmas, according to Visa Europe. Shoppers will make 37 million transactions, up 10% in 2014, and total spending is predicted to rise by 3% from the previous year.

Transactions are expected to peak between 1pm and 2pm when workers use their lunch break to head to their local high street, making over 3.2 million transactions in the sixty minutes.

Traditionally, the busiest shopping day falls two days before Christmas. This year, despite the festive shopping period beginning earlier and Cyber Weekend being largely an online affair, the busiest shopping day is set to continue its traditional pattern as people make last minute trips to stores to buy gifts, food, drink, decorations and party essentials.

Saturday 19th December, the last Saturday before Christmas, will also see an increase in high street footfall as consumers are expected to make over 34 million transactions on Visa cards, up 10% on 2014 and up 10% on average of the previous four Saturday’s.

Kevin Jenkins, Managing Director UK & Ireland at Visa Europe, said:

“On December 23rd, Brits will race to the high-street to pick up last-minute presents, despite starting their Christmas shopping early this year with record amounts spent online on Black Friday. In keeping with previous years, the busiest day for Christmas shopping this year will be two days before Christmas where we are likely to see £1.3billion spent on the high street.”

“More than £1 million will be spent on Visa cards every minute, rising to nearer £2 million every minute during the lunch time rush, between 1pm and 2pm. In that hour, over three million face to face transactions are expected to take place. Shoppers will demand quick and easy purchases during this busy period, and retailers with a contactless offering are likely to be the winners as they could see shorter queuing times and happier customers.”

“As consumers turn to their mobiles and tablets to take advantage of retailers’ last-minute click and collect services in the run up to the 23rd, retailers may also see a surge in footfall on the day, with the opportunity for further shopping in-store when consumers arrive. With shoppers having more choice about where and how to buy than ever before, it’s an opportunity for retailers to get their multi-channel offering right”.

As £1 in every £3 in the UK is spent on a Visa card, Visa Europe has unrivalled data to provide insight into consumer spending. Visa bases its predictions on up to the minute spending data and Christmas spending trends from previous years.

Visa Europe is a payments technology business owned and operated by member banks and other payment service providers from 37 countries across Europe.

Visa Europe works at the forefront of technology to create the services and infrastructure which enable millions of European consumers, businesses and governments to make electronic payments. Its members are responsible for issuing cards, signing up retailers and deciding cardholder and retailer fees.

Visa Europe operates a high volume, low cost business model that provides services to its members. Its surplus is reinvested into the business and used to improve capital and reserves.

There are 500m Visa cards in Europe, while €1 in every €6.50 spent in Europe is on a Visa card. In the year to September 2013, total expenditure on Visa cards reached 2 trillion, while point-of-sale spend increased by 8.5% to €1.4 trillion. Annual online spending on Visa cards continues to grow (20% year-on-year) and now stands at €240bn.

Since 2004, Visa Europe has been independent of Visa Inc. and incorporated in the UK, with an exclusive, irrevocable and perpetual licence in Europe. Both companies work in partnership to enable global Visa payments. As a dedicated European payment system Visa Europe is able to respond quickly to the specific market needs of European banks and their customers - cardholders and retailers - and to meet the European Commission’s objective to create a true internal market for payments.

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