• Final week of Christmas shopping expecting to see weak, but positive spending growth of 1.7%, versus 3.6% in 2017 according to Mastercard SpendingPulse

  • One quarter* of all Brits admit they are behind on Christmas shopping compared with previous years

  • 1 in 5 busy millennials plan to do ALL their Christmas shopping in the next few days

  • Friday 21st December expected to be the UK’s second biggest shopping day in 2018, per Mastercard SpendingPulse

  • Mobile shopping adds to the Christmas cheer by leaving more time for watching films (43%) and festive activities (65%)

LONDON, December 20th 2018: Busy millennials are going to be fretting at the last minute this year, with 24% of Brits admitting they are behind on their Christmas shopping compared to previous years, as we head into the final countdown ahead of the big day.

Research commissioned by Mastercard has found 1 in 5 are intending to do ALL of their Christmas shopping in the final few days, bringing some limited relief to retailers whose cash registers haven’t been ringing as loud as previous years. Women are the worst offenders with 29% revealing how behind they are, compared to 18% of men.

Time poor Brits are even snapping up purchases during work hours, with 1 in 10 of Gen Z shoppers confessing to buy presents in the office, compared with just 2% of honest Baby Boomers.

When shopping from a mobile, last-minute millennials admitted to being most likely to shop in the evening in bed (36%).

This research is consistent with forecasts from Mastercard SpendingPulse™, which measures retail sales across all payment types, including cash. Mastercard SpendingPulse reveals that the final week of Christmas shopping will see positive spending growth of 1.7%, versus 3.6% in 2017. The strength of 21st December is a contributor, as that is expected to be the UK’s second biggest shopping day of the year.


27% of all Christmas shopping will be made on a smart phone this year. The average Brit has four dedicated shopping apps, however, it’s not just younger shoppers taking advantage.

Online shopping has taken the top spot as the biggest spending channel this Christmas. Online now accounts for over 50% of spending during the holiday season, with under half of it taking place on a mobile device. The rise of mobile shopping is attributed to convenience with most citing the freedom and flexibility to shop anywhere, at any time.


  • I can do it when I want to (46%)

  • I don't have to travel to buy what I want (26%)

  • I don't have to carry the shopping back (25%)

  • It allows me to do it last minute (24%)

  • Lack of spare time (24%)

When it comes to shopping in-store, consumers overwhelmingly found the biggest cause of stress to be other shoppers (51%). Busy staff, confusing shop layouts and annoying Christmas music were cited by one in five as reasons they prefer to shop on a mobile.

Looking towards the festive period, this final week is expected to be one of the busiest shopping weeks of the year.  Janne Karppinen, Mastercard’s Head of Retail for the UK said: “It’s been a tough Christmas trading period for retailers so far, especially for those on the high street. Shoppers can now delay gifting decisions until the last moment, given retailers’ ever improved capabilities to fulfil deliveries at the eleventh hour.’


The rise of mobile spending is spreading Christmas cheer. One quarter of all Brits agreed they have had more time to spend on festive activities due to online and mobile shopping with merry Brits opting to spend time with family (65%) and watch more Christmas movies (43%).


For further information please contact:

Email: Lauren.Jefferys@mastercard.com / James.Thorpe@mastercard.com

T: 020 7513 2169


*Unless otherwise labelled as Mastercard SpendingPulse, all data is 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.

About Mastercard SpendingPulse:

Mastercard SpendingPulse reports on national retail sales across all payment types in select markets around the world. The findings are based on aggregate sales activity in the Mastercard payments network, coupled with survey-based estimates for certain other payment forms, such as cash and cheques.

About Mastercard

Mastercard (NYSE: MA), www.mastercard.com, is a technology company in the global payments industry. Our global payments processing network connects 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.