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Christmas gifting overseas: 20.7 million have a relative living abroad

Press release -

Christmas gifting overseas: 20.7 million have a relative living abroad

  • Post Office analysis of money transfers reveals 16th December1 is expected to be the busiest day of the year for international payments
  • Rise of the ’Multi-Country family’ (MCF) is driving international Christmas money transfers, as 41 per cent of UK adults currently have at least one relative living abroad
  • The number of people with more than five relatives abroad has doubled in the past five years

New analysis from Post Office International Payments reveals the 16th December is expected to the busiest day of the year for international payment transactions as people rush to send last minute gifts abroad. We live in a world of multi-country families (MCFs) and new research reveals 41 per cent of UK adults2, or 20.7 million people, currently have at least one relative living abroad.

The study highlights the internationalisation of British families where parents, siblings and even partners live in different countries. On average people living in the UK have four relatives residing overseas. There are now more than three million people with more than five relatives living out of the country, which has doubled in the last five years.

Those with relatives living abroad spent on average £2,231 last year sending gifts and financial support to family members. Gifting money (57%) tops the list of reasons for sending money to loved ones abroad. Other reasons for sending money abroad to relatives include supporting living and housing costs.

TABLE 1 – Top five reasons for sending money to family abroad

Reason for sending money Percentage
1 Presents 57%
2 Day to day living costs 33%
3 Housing 26%
4 Education 15%
5 So they can purchase from overseas to send back to the UK 10%

Source: Post Office International Payments, 2015Considerable sums are being transferred internationally, as people support extended families. Three quarters of a million people (754,000) sent more than £10,000 to relatives in the last 12 months.

Commenting on the findings, Rob Scott Head of International Payments at Post Office Money said: “People often leave it to the last minute to send gifts to family members abroad at Christmas, which causes a spike in demand for international payments. The rise of the multi-country family sees loved ones spread across the globe, so international money transfers are a convenient way to send a present this festive season.”

Analysis of transaction trends3 reveals Australia is the number one destination for international money transfers overseas. As a mecca for travellers and gap year students, along with a large ex-patriot community, it is unsurprising families and friends are sending large sums of money to Australia. Multiple continents rank in the top ten destinations for international money transfers reinforcing Britons’ global links.

TABLE 2 – Top ten destinations for sending international gift payments

1 Australia
2 United States of America
3 Spain
4 Canada
5 South Africa
6 France
7 New Zealand
8 Ireland
9 Poland
10 Germany

Source: Post Office International Payments, December 2015TABLE 3 – Top five relatives abroad

Relative Percentage
1 Cousin 30%
2 Brother 27%
3 Uncle 26%
4 Aunt 26%
5 Sister 17%

Source: Post Office International Payments, 2015

The study reveals people visit family members living abroad on average seven times a year, however a quarter (25 per cent) of people visit relations abroad at least once a month. People believe there are significant cultural benefits to having a family member living abroad, with more than one in three (35 per cent) highlighting that it exposes them to different cultures and over a quarter (25 per cent) saying it has allowed them to experience new cuisines.

Post Office International Payments is an easy and secure way to transfer money from UK to overseas bank accounts. People can cost effectively transfer any amount from £50 upwards, with fee free transfers over £250. For more information please visit:



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