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Christmas credit crisis: Brits turn to credit cards to cover holiday shopping

By Don-Alvin Adegeest


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Christmas shopping Credits: Cath Kidston

The looming festive season is casting its shadow on British wallets, and it seems like a significant chunk of the population is eyeing credit cards as the magic wand to fund the yuletide splurge. According to a recent study by finder.com, nearly 23 million Brits are contemplating relying on credit to cover the costs of Christmas gifts and other seasonal shopping.

Breaking down the figures, the study unveils that 43 percent of UK adults—more than two in five—are gearing up to drop an average of 627 pounds on their credit cards this Christmas. This expenditure, amounting to almost a quarter of the country's average monthly salary (2,730 pounds), translates into a cumulative debt of over 14.3 billion pounds.

Analysing the data by age, a generational trend emerges. Younger demographics seem more inclined to give their credit cards a festive workout. Generation Z (18-23) takes the lead, with 61 percent planning to utilise credit cards for their seasonal expenses. Millennials (24-42) trail closely at 56 percent, followed by generation X (39 percent).

Conversely, baby boomers (55-73) seem less enthused about swiping their cards, with only 29 percent embracing this approach. The silent generation (74+), while less in number, intends to splurge more on their credit cards, averaging an impressive 765 pounds in Christmas spending. Londoners lead the credit card charge, with 60 percent planning to spend an average of 624 pounds on plastic. In Northern Ireland, 47 percent are following suit, expecting to drop around 550 pounds on credit cards. The Welsh, on the other hand, appear more frugal, with 33 percent opting for credit cards but with a modest average spend of 379 pounds.

The credit temptation

Kate Steere, deputy editor at finder.com, said in a statement: “Heading into the Christmas period, the use of credit cards is always a tempting option for those who might otherwise struggle to cover the additional costs of the holidays. However, it’s very concerning to see credit card use reach such heights amongst UK consumers this year. Particularly as the cost of living crisis continues to squeeze household incomes, heightening the chance of individuals missing vital repayments."

As the holiday season approaches, the financial landscape echoes the balance between festive cheer and prudent financial choices, urging consumers to tread cautiously in the glittering aisle of holiday spending.