Leaving it too late will cost Christmas shoppers an extra £150

Christmas shoppers who have left it late will spend £594m more than they had planned this week, according to Egg, the online credit-card provider.

Almost four million shoppers will leave all their seasonal shopping until the week before Christmas, and last-minute panic buying will result in their spending more than they had intended. The late shopper spends 39 per cent more than budgeted for, and with the average bill for Christmas gifts totalling £385, this could mean an extra £150 per person, bringing their final bill to £535.

It gets worse. If you are one of the 800,000 shoppers planning to wait until Christmas Eve to storm the high street, choice will be limited and you will be four times more likely to buy an unsuitable gift than those who have shopped even two to three weeks ahead. One in 10 Brits are described as "really late shoppers", and it appears that women are as guilty as men.

The UK hotspot for panic buying in the week before Christmas is London, where 16 per cent of consumers have still to finish their shopping, closely followed by the North-west (14 per cent).

Alison Wright, a spokeswoman for Egg, said that with 12 months to plan ahead for Christmas, shoppers should try harder to avoid late sprees if they want to drive down the cost of the festivities.

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