According to new YouGov research commissioned by Equifax, the credit information expert, 29% of Brits who celebrate Christmas say they feel pressured to spend more than they can afford for the festive season. On average, people expect to spend £441.24 on Christmas this year, with around 1 in 5 (21%) thinking they will spend more than they did last year. The research also revealed that 7% of those who used a credit card to pay for Christmas 2015 still haven’t paid off the debt.
It appears, from the Equifax commissioned research, that women feel the pressure of festive spending more than men. Nearly a third (32%) think they will feel pressured into spending more than they can afford compared to 26% of men. And when it comes to blowing the budget, 42% of women expect to spend £500 or more, but only 32% of men say the same.
Scottish consumers appear to be the biggest spenders, on average at £479.14; those living in the South seem to be more prudent averaging £403.16.
And those living in the East of England and Wales feel the most pressure to spend more than they can afford, with 33% of people in these regions admitting to this, compared to just 22% in the South.
In Scotland, 29% think they will spend more this year than they did last year, a significant increase on the overall average of 21%.
“It’s clear that many of us feel the pressure to spend for Christmas – which can leave us with hefty bills to pay come the New Year”, commented Lisa Hardstaff, Equifax credit information expert. “But with over a quarter of people using credit cards towards paying for Christmas last year, we’re reminding consumers to plan ahead to ensure they can pay it off as quickly as possible. This particularly applies to the 11% who expect to spend more than £1,000 or more this year. It is vital that if they plan to use credit that they make repayments on time and if possible not just pay the minimum each month, otherwise they could end up like the 7% who are still paying off their Christmas spending from last year.”
Christmas on credit
Over a quarter (26%) used a credit card towards paying for Christmas last year, with a third of those aged 45 to 54 taking this option, compared to just 10% of 18 to 24 year-olds.
For those who chose to use credit, over half (54%) paid off the bill within 1 month. However, 15% took 2 months or more. Worryingly 5% took more than 6 months to pay off the Christmas spending on their credit card and 7% admitted to still not having paid off the bill fully by October of this year.
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