Boxing Day shopping will be hit by pre-Christmas discounting, survey finds

Consumer appetite for the Boxing Day sales has dampened this year against a backdrop of extended discounting by squeezed retailers, a survey suggests.

A quarter of Britons (23%) will shop in the Boxing Day sales, down from 32% last year, according to Barclaycard.

One in five (20%) will shop on Christmas Eve, down from 26% last year, and one in seven (15%) will shop on Christmas Day, the poll found.

The figures suggest incentive to buy in the sales has weakened following widespread discounting, including Black Friday and Cyber Monday, that continued well into December.

Among those who are planning to disrupt their Christmas Day celebrations to shop, more than a quarter (28%) are motivated by a fear of missing out on the best bargains, while 11% will be seeking a cut-price present for friends and family they are yet to see this Christmas period.

Meanwhile, 15% will stay up on Christmas Eve as retailers launch their online sales after closing time at bricks-and-mortar stores.

An annual survey by Sainsbury's Bank credit cards has already suggested that shoppers will spend £726 million on Christmas Eve this year, a significant drop from last year's findings that consumers planned to splash out £1.4 billion.

It also found that Christmas shoppers' total spending over this week will reach just £191 each, significantly down from last year's £272.

Barclaycard managing director Paul Lockstone said: "Consumers have become accustomed to bagging a bargain during the extended festive sales period, with many retailers closing the gap between Black Friday and the Boxing Day sales with month-long discounting events.

"As a result, the long queues we've traditionally seen outside flagship stores on December 26 may progressively become a thing of the past. "

Myf Ryan, chief marketing officer for Westfield UK and Europe, said: "Boxing Day continues to be Westfield's busiest day of the Christmas trading period.

"Last year over 330,000 shoppers visited our two Westfield centres in London and again this year we are expecting similar numbers. During the Christmas period last year, shoppers spent over £500,000 per hour."

:: Opinium Research surveyed 2,000 UK adults online between December 13-15.