£42 Million Per Hour To Be Spent In Christmas Eve Rush

24 December 2011

Nearly 18 million people have left their Christmas shopping until the last minute and will be hitting the shops on Christmas Eve, according to new research(1) from Sainsbury’s Credit Cards.

The findings indicate that 38% of adults expect to still be doing some of their Christmas shopping on Christmas Eve. Those people who know how much they will spend anticipate spending around £1billion between them on last minute purchases, equivalent to almost £42 million per hour. An additional 2.8 million people don’t know what they will spend, so the total spend could be much higher.

While shoppers won’t necessarily spend more money in total this Christmas, with experts predicting less then optimistic retail sales(3), last-minute Christmas shopping is set to be much more prevalent this year. Shoppers expect to spend £9.4 billion in the week before Christmas this year(1) and 18% of this money is expected to be spent on Christmas Eve, up from just over 8% last year; this is possibly due to an increase in pre-Christmas sales, and Christmas Eve falling on a Saturday.

In the run up to Christmas this year, millions of people admit to trying to reduce their Christmas spending through a variety of measures. Nearly four in 10 people (38%) are using vouchers or coupons to buy food and gifts, and nearly one in four (23%) is collecting reward scheme points on all of their Christmas shopping. Some 23% will purchase gifts using points they have collected from a loyalty or reward scheme, and the same number will buy Christmas food or drink using points they have amassed.

This week, Sainsbury’s estimated(4) that customers will save £66 million on Nectar cards at Sainsbury’s this Christmas with up to three million families paying for at least part of their Christmas dinner using Nectar points.

One in 10 people are getting creative and making personalised or hand-made gifts, and 12% intend to buy Christmas gifts in the post-Christmas sales to save money. Interestingly, 14% of men don’t plan to budget their Christmas shopping, compared to just 6% of women.

The supermarket bank’s research also indicates that around 31% of last-minute spending conducted in the week before Christmas would be placed on credit cards with around 9.2 million people intending to put more than half of this on their credit cards. Over 4 million shoppers intend to place more than 90% on credit cards.

Stuart McKeggie, Head of Sainsbury’s Credit Cards said: “As ever, millions of people are on a mad dash to the shops on Christmas Eve but this year people are leaving it even later than usual, perhaps due to financial uncertainty, the anticipation of last minute sales and the fact that Christmas Eve is on a Saturday.

“There are millions of people trying to reduce the total value of their Christmas spending, however, by using points they have collected from reward schemes this year. A credit card, like ours, can be a safe and convenient way to shop and can provide great rewards for using them if you choose the right one. However, it is important to ensure that you have the right card for you in terms of the rate, the introductory deal and the rewards on offer.”

The Sainsbury’s Finance double Nectar point reward, available on the Sainsbury’s Nectar Credit Card and other Sainsbury’s credit cards, offers the equivalent of an extra 1% off your Sainsbury’s shopping when used in conjunction with a Nectar card, the total combined reward is therefore equivalent to 2% off.

To find out more about the Sainsbury’s Nectar Credit Card call0800 030 4429 or log onto  or pick up a leaflet in your Sainsbury’s supermarket.  Customers applying for a Sainsbury’s card should have their Nectar card ready when they apply.


For further information, please contact:
Ian Morris / Tom Wilson
Citigate Dewe Rogerson
020 7282 1037 / 2842

Notes to editors:
(1) ICM interviewed a random sample of 2,000 adults aged 18+. The interviews were conducted via an online omnibus survey between 25th –27th November 2011.  Surveys were conducted across Great Britain and the results have been weighted to the profile of all adults 18+.  ICM is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.
(2) New customers only. For full terms and conditions Points are not available on a limited range of Sainsbury’s goods and services – see in-store or for details Double Nectar points on Sainsbury’s shopping for two years when you pay with your Sainsbury’s Nectar Credit Card (and hand over your Nectar card). Collect Nectar points when you use your Sainsbury’s Nectar Credit Card elsewhere – 1 point for every £5 you spend. Visit for more details.
(4) 15th December 2011, Sainsbury’s announced that its customers will save £66 million on their Christmas shopping by spending their Nectar points at its stores and online this Christmas. The retailer also confirmed that as of 5th December 200,000 extra customers had redeemed their Nectar points compared to the same time last year and that it believes that over three million families will pay for at least part of their Christmas dinner using Nectar points.
Sainsbury’s Finance:
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