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£753 - The cost of Christmas for the average British household

30 November 2016

Brits set to spend £21 billion on presents, parties, pantos and festive food

According to new research released today by Gocompare.com Money, the average British household expects to spend £753 on Christmas festivities this year.  Collectively that's a staggering £21 billion splashed out on presents, food and drink, parties and decorations.*

Presents for friends and families top the list of Christmas spending with an anticipated average outlay of £378 per household, followed by food and drink (£183) and, partying (£109).  On average, householders estimate they will also spend £83 on buying a Christmas tree and festive decorations, pantos and other Christmas experiences.    

Breakdown of anticipated Christmas spending

Christmas expense

Average per household

Average all households

Presents for families and friends.


£10.6 billion

Food and drink, including supermarket shopping, turkey and all the trimmings.


£5.1 billion

Parties (including the cost of tickets, meals, new clothing, accommodation and transport). 


£3 billion

Christmas tree and other decorations, trip to the panto and other Christmas experiences.


£2.3 billion

The research, also found that just over half (52%) of people will finance their Christmas celebrations from their current account, while 26% have put money aside throughout the year to cover their cost of their Christmas spending.  However, 12% say they will use a credit card to cover some of the cost of Christmas with 3% using a credit card to pay for all their seasonal spending.** 
Of those who plan on borrowing money or using a credit card to finance their festivities, 60% said they plan on paying off their debt within a month, while the average time to repay Christmas credit card spending was 2.4 months.  A small percentage (8%) anticipated that it would take them over six months to repay their spending.

Matt Sanders head of money at Gocompare.com commented; "Credit cards can be an attractive option around this time of year, allowing people to spread the cost of Christmas as well as offering additional protection on some purchases under the Consumer Credit Act.
"At the moment there are a range of cards offering 0% interest periods on purchases and balance transfers for customers to take advantage of, with some cards offering as much as two years interest free on purchase and up to 40 months interest free on balances transfers respectively.

"However, if you are putting Christmas spending on a credit card, bear to remember that you'll be required to pay back the full amount borrow, plus any additional interest, meaning it's important to be realistic with how much you can afford"
Matt Sanders added; "Likewise, if you are thinking using a card with a 0% interest period, make sure to keep track of when your deal expires. Some cards offer 0% deals of up to 40 months, and while this can be fantastic for customers looking to spread the cost of big balances over a long period of time, it can also be easy to lose track of when this deals expires, at which point you'll be charge interested on the remaining balance.
"Setting up a repayment plan is a good way of ensuring that you pay off the balance of your credit card before the introductory period ends, and remember to check the terms and conditions before you sign up."
For more information on balance transfer credit cards visit Gocompare.com's guide.

See Gocompare.com's guide for more information on the consumer credit act.
Tips from Gocompare.com Money on managing credit card debts
Take control.
When your statement arrives, don't ignore it; your debt will increase as interest is added to the outstanding balance.
Don't just make the minimum repayment.
Card issuers add interest to any outstanding balance so the longer you take to repay the debt, the more money you will owe.  If your debts are spread across more than one card, pay off the most expensive card first.
Switch your credit card.

If you are currently paying interest, consider transferring your credit card balance to a new card with an extended interest free period on balance transfers.  Make sure you diarise when the introductory period ends so that you can avoid paying interest on the outstanding debt. You usually pay a balance transfer fee for moving your debt which is calculated as a percentage of the debt you're transferring onto the new card and varies from card to card.
Avoid fees for missed payments and cash.
Card issuers typically charge around £12 for missed payments.  Avoid using your credit card as a cash card, the additional charges (between £1.50 and £5.00) make this an expensive way to borrow money.
If you are currently struggling with credit card debt visit: https://www.stepchange.org/ 

Notes to editors:

*According to the ONS (2015) there are 28 million households in the UK: 28 million multiplied by average spend per household of £753 equals £21,084,000,000.
**On 4 November 2016, Bilendi conducted an online survey among 2,006 randomly selected British adults who are Maximiles UK panelists.  The margin of error-which measures sampling variability-is +/- 2.2%. The results have been statistically weighted according to the most current education, age, gender and regional data to ensure samples representative of the entire adult population of United Kingdom. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.