12 per cent of 2013 festive spending will be digital, forecasts payments monitor


Around 12 pence in every £1 of consumers' Christmas shopping this year will be spent online, according to forecasts by the body which oversees payments in the UK.

Consumers are expected to spend a total of £82.7 billion on their cards and by cash and cheque this December, marking a 1.2 per cent increase from the same period last year, the Payments Council said.

Around £10 billion, or 12 per cent of the total spend, will be made up of people using their cards to make purchases on the internet, marking a 15 per cent jump on last year and surging by 495 per cent from just under £1.7 billion 10 years ago.

The figures throw light on how consumers' shopping habits have seen a strong shift towards the internet over the last decade. In December 2003, just 2p in every £1 of consumers' Christmas spending was carried out online.

A spokeswoman for the Payments Council said the figures are evidence of how people are increasingly turning to the internet to compare prices as well as the convenience of "not having to push through the Christmas shoppers".

The predictions show that debit cards will continue to account for the bulk of spending this December, with some £34 billion-worth of spending expected to be made using this method, marking a 6.3 per cent uplift on last December.

Shoppers are also expected to put slightly more on their credit cards this December than they did last year, with a 1.4 per cent uplift expected compared with December 2012. Some £14.1 billion is forecast to be put on credit cards this December.

Cash spending is expected to remain relatively flat in December, with just a 0.3 per cent year-on-year rise to £24 billion.

Meanwhile, cheque use is expected to continue to drop off, accounting for around £10.5 billion-worth of payments next month, representing an 11 per cent decrease on December last year. Ten years ago, more than double this amount was placed on cheques over Christmas, at almost £24 billion.

The Payments Council made its forecast by looking at previous spending patterns and also taking into account wider developments in society and in the economy.