High street breathes again as stars align for £1.4 billion shopping frenzy

Panic Saturday set for red-hot spending after icy December keeps shoppers indoors

21 Dec 2017

Shoppers could spend as much as £1.4 billion* on cards this Saturday thanks to a last-minute rush on everything from prosecco and pigs in blankets, to perfume and pyjamas, claims the latest analysis from Worldpay.

With Christmas falling on a Monday this year, Worldpay expects this year’s ‘Panic Saturday’ spree to be unusually busy thanks to the confluence of Christmas shoppers looking for last-minute gifts, and grocery shoppers picking up provisions for the festivities ahead.

James Frost, UK CMO, Worldpay, said: “It would be easy to underestimate the importance of this weekend in terms of the retail calendar. The 23rd December is always one of the busiest shopping days of the year, but in other years a lot of that spending will come from food and grocery as people get ready for a Christmas Day feast.

“The way Christmas has fallen this year however, added to the impact of the recent cold snap, which saw many consumers stay at home, means shoppers are far more likely to take things right to the wire when it comes to buying gifts. The overall result of this is a kind of “double whammy” effect, which should contribute to an extraordinary day of spending.”

Worldpay expects department stores, which could rake in as much £113 million*, to be among the big winners from the UK’s last-minute largesse, with clothing and footwear stores not far behind on £90 million*. Supermarkets and grocery stores meanwhile could see tills ring to the tune of £631 million*, as Christmas Day cooks stock up on everything from bread sauce to brandy butter.

An analysis of spending patterns from the payments processer suggests high-streets could be at least 45%** busier than on an average weekend, with Worldpay processing as many as 49,100 transactions per minute at peak periods.

In the Oxford Street area, shoppers are expected to spend as much as £29 million on gifts and groceries, while spending around Westfield Stratford City shopping centre near London’s Olympic Park is expected to top £6.7 million. Other notable spending hot-spots this weekend include:

  • Birmingham City Centre: £20 million*
  • Glasgow: £16.6 million*
  • Manchester: £16.3 million*
  • Cardiff: £11 million*
  • Newcastle Upon Tyne: £8.7 million*

Whilst 23rd December is expected to be the busiest shopping day of the season, Worldpay expects the week running up to Christmas Eve to account for as much as £12.2 billion*** in spending, making it comfortably the busiest shopping week of the year.

James Frost added: “We’re heading into extra time of the most important shopping period of the year. This weekend should be an open goal for the retail sector, provided they’re able to cope with the expected influx of wide-eyed shoppers. Retailers can take a lot of pressure off traditional choke points by putting more staff on the shop floor and arming them with devices to take payments on the go. Shops that provide this level of speed and convenience will win hearts and minds among stressed shoppers.”

-ENDS-

About the data

*Calculation is based on the assumption that total sales processed by Worldpay on 17th December 2016 (Panic Saturday) equate to 40% of total card transactions over that period

**Projections based on analysis of Worldpay transaction data between 18th and 24th December 2014 and 2015, compared to an average weekend

***Calculation is based on the assumption that total sales processed by Worldpay between 17th December 2016 and 23rd December 2016 equates to 40% of total card transactions over that period

About Worldpay:

Worldpay is a leading payments company with global reach. We provide an extensive range of technology-led payment products and services to around 400,000 customers, enabling their businesses to grow and prosper. We manage the increasing complexity of the payments landscape for our customers, allowing them to accept the widest range of payment types around the world. Using our network and technology, we are able to process payments from geographies covering 99% of global GDP, across 146 countries and 126 currencies.  We help our customers to accept more than 300 different payment types.

Worldpay UK helps businesses of all sizes sell more to their customers by accepting card payments in-store, online, via mail or telephone, and on the move. www.worldpay.com/uk

For more information please contact:

Suraj Mashru, Golin: T + 44 (0) 20 7067 0494

Angela Woodward, Worldpay:  T: +44 (0)203 664 2605

21 Dec 2017