Half of Brits pay for Christmas on credit

New Which? research has found half of people (46%) used credit cards, overdrafts, store cards or payday loans to cover Christmas spending this year, while over a third (36%) dipped into their savings.

With energy and food costs continuing to rise, our survey into Christmas spending also found people aren’t feeling positive about the New Year either with more than half (54%) of people expecting their household budgets to be even tighter in 2013.

The new Which? research also reveals that:

  •  Over half (56%) spent less on Christmas this year than last year, with 43% saying they significantly cut back spending.
  • Almost a quarter (22%) said they could only afford to pay for Christmas by using credit cards and overdrafts.
  • Those who dipped into their savings took out an average of £380 while those who used credit to cover Christmas costs borrowed an average of £301.
  • 12% used authorised overdrafts, 8% used store cards and 5% of people borrowed money from friends or family.
  • Half (48%) of people didn’t buy as much food and 45% bought less high quality food than last year because of increasing food prices.
  • Six out of 10 (61%) people felt this Christmas was financially tougher than last year, however three quarters (75%) said their Christmas wouldn’t be any worse for having less money to spend.
  •  92% agree that people generally feel under pressure to spend too much at Christmas.


Which? executive director, Richard Lloyd, said:

“Most of us like to splash out on family and friends at this time of year so the news that millions of people have drastically cut back on Christmas spending or taken out loans to cover Christmas costs shows just how squeezed household budgets are right now. It also shows how far we are from a consumer spending-led economic recovery.”


Notes to Editors

Populus, on behalf of Which?, interviewed 2100 GB adults online between the 19th and 21st December 2012. Data were weighted to be representative of all UK adults.

Press Release: ,