More consumers plan to shop the Boxing Day sales, survey finds

More consumers plan to shop in the traditional Boxing Day sales this year than last as they try to combat rising prices, a survey suggests.

About a third of Britons (34%) will go to the festive sales, up from 23% last year, according to Barclaycard, which processes nearly half of all debit and credit card transactions in the UK.

More than a quarter (26%) will shop on Christmas Eve, up from 20% last year, and 15% will go shopping on Christmas Day, the poll found.

Boxing Day sales (Matt Alexander/PA)
Boxing Day sales (Matt Alexander/PA)

For those who do plan to shop, the majority (57%) will be browsing the sales online, with 43% visiting the high street for deals.

Consumer appetite for the post-Christmas sales period fell away last year after an extended period of discounting that began well before November's Black Friday.

VoucherCodes and the Centre for Retail Research also predict the Boxing Day sales will attract more than a third of the UK's population, expecting them to spend a record £4.3 billion - a 12% rise on 2016.

It also expects 10.9 million shoppers to scour deals online on Christmas Day to spend a total of £895 million.

Barclaycard's poll found months of "feeling the squeeze" this year is resulting in many consumers looking forward to the sales to ease their budgets.

More than half of shoppers (51%) are planning to spend more on Boxing Day than they did on Black Friday and Cyber Monday this year.

Among those who are planning to take a break from Christmas Day festivities to shop online, 33% are motivated by the fear of missing out on the best bargains, 25% say they will simply be bored and want something to do and 16% will be looking for a bargain present for friends and family they are yet to visit.

Some 19% will stay up late on Christmas Eve to hit the online sales when they launch while 15% plan to shop online while in the company of friends and family. A similar proportion will shop during Christmas lunch (13%) as well as during the Queen's speech (13%).

Barclaycard said the increase in sales spending was largely due to inflationary pressures, and while 22% of consumers have a higher disposable income compared with last year, 23% are expecting prices to be higher this year.

Paul Lockstone, managing director at Barclaycard, said: "Last year, Black Friday overshadowed Boxing Day sales as many retailers struggled to maintain consumer interest in what has become a month-long discounting event.

"This year, however, value-seeking consumers appear to be more eager to buy cut-price items across both sales periods as they try to combat rising prices."

Paul Lewis, senior director of marketing at VoucherCodes, said: "While Boxing Day remains a huge sales event on the high street, it's clear that online retailers are capitalising on the spare time their customers will have on Christmas Day to browse for bargains by launching their sales a day early.

"The lack of Christmas Day trading restrictions placed on the web compared to the high street makes it an ideal opportunity to snap up bargains for those who can't wait until Boxing Day."