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Mastercard SpendingPulse: shoppers demand discounts like never before in ‘thrifty Christmas’ spending period


  • Growth in high street spending expected to rise from 2.6% to 3.8% YoY
  • Average spend on gifts will be £336.34* per person
  • Brits are a nation of Bargain Boasters, with one quarter* proud to shout about a saving

LONDON, 19th November 2018: Mastercard research reveals that Christmas 2018 could be our thriftiest ever as two thirds (66%*) of shoppers will only complete a purchase if discounted or part of a deal.

Overall holiday season retail spending in the UK is expected to be up 3.8% YoY, according to Mastercard SpendingPulse™ - welcome news for retailers:

  • Yet again, online shopping will see the strongest sales growth, up 11.1% YoY
  • There is good news for the high street as spend on groceries is predicted to see the next greatest uplift, increasing from 0.2% to 3.0% YoY
  • Electronics, a Black Friday bargain favourite, will continue to retain the top spot for Christmas gifting, despite a drop in sales growth of electronics by 1.2%
  • Following a flat 2017, furniture is expected to see a recovery up 2.8% YoY as thrifty shoppers hunt an investment purchase

This year, the average amount to be splashed on Christmas presents is expected to be £336.34* per bargain hunter, a Mastercard study found.

As we approach the busiest shopping weekend of the year, Mastercard data has uncovered that one in five (19%*) of us has tightened our purse strings until Black Friday bargains are released. This shouldn’t be an issue for the majority of Brits (69%*) who are happy to receive a discounted gift.

One quarter (26%*) of Brits agree they are proud to shout about a saving whereas they would have been ashamed ten years ago. One in five (19%*) even went as far as comparing the thrill of finding a bargain to getting a pay rise at work.

Janne Karppinen, Vice President of Retail for UK & Ireland at Mastercard, said: “Buying behaviour is shifting dramatically as shoppers’ expectations for discounts increase.  Two thirds of shoppers won’t buy a product if it isn’t discounted. Coupled with the fact that spending slows in the run up to mid-November, we can see that discounts are no longer seen as a ‘nice to have,’ they are demanded.”

Dr David Lewis**Chartered Psychologist said: There are three main reasons why so many consumers now rate bargains more than brand names:

In an age of austerity, there is more social kudos to describing what a great deal you have done than what something costs. Second, with more and more consumers regarding themselves at "war" with retailers, especially the very big retailers, getting a good deal is seen as representing a win. Finally, while spotting and grabbing a bargain brings about positive mental and physical changes in shoppers; studies have shown that finding a bargain floods the brain with a chemical known as dopamine which produces a sense of euphoria.”

ENDS

For further information please contact [email protected]

NOTES TO EDITOR

*Data provided by Censuswide Ltd from a survey of 2000 UK adults. Data is sourced from a variety of ages, gender, cities and regions.

Christmas period as defined by data spans from November 2018 to December 2018.

** Dr David Lewis BSc (Hons), D.Phil., FISMA, FRSM, AFBPsS, Commentary:

“There are three main reasons why so many consumers now rate bargains more than brand names.

In an age of austerity, there is more social kudos to describing what a great deal you have done than what something costs.

Second, with more and more consumers regarding themselves at "war" with retailers, especially the very big retailers, getting a good deal is seen as representing a win. Paying the asking price, by comparison, represents a defeat. Most of us would far rather be seen as winners than losers.

Finally, spotting and grabbing a bargain brings about positive mental and physical changes.

Studies have shown that finding a bargain floods the brain with a chemical known as dopamine which produces a sense of euphoria. Because these changes are intensely rewarding they encourage shoppers to repeat the experience as soon as possible and as often as possible.

At the same time finding a bargain and then losing it again, perhaps because a rival shopper proved quicker off the mark, is intensely disappointing. It produces feelings of regret, envy and personal failure.

The faster a bargain can be bagged the less likely it is to slip through the consumer’s grasp. And the faster he or she can return to the exciting business of tracking down further great deals.

Once bitten by the ‘bargain hunting bug’ you are likely hooked for life.”

About Mastercard SpendingPulse™

A macro‐economic indicator, MasterCard SpendingPulse reports on national retail sales and is based on aggregate sales activity in the MasterCard payments network, coupled with survey-based estimates for certain other payment forms, including cash and cheque. MasterCard SpendingPulse does not represent MasterCard financial performance. SpendingPulse is provided by MasterCardAdvisors, the professional services arm of MasterCard International Incorporated. MasterCard SpendingPulse reports and content, including estimated forecasts of spending trends, do not in any way contain, reflect or relate to actual MasterCard operational or financial performance, or specific payment-card-issuer data.

About Mastercard

Mastercard (NYSE: MA), www.mastercard.com, is a technology company in the global payments industry.  We operate the world’s fastest payments processing network, connecting consumers, financial institutions, merchants, governments and businesses in more than 210 countries and territories.  Mastercard products and solutions make everyday commerce activities – such as shopping, traveling, running a business and managing finances – easier, more secure and more efficient for everyone.  Follow us on Twitter @MastercardNews, join the discussion on the Beyond the Transaction Blog and subscribe for the latest news on the Engagement Bureau.

  • Published on 11th December 2018