Apacs, the UK payments association, today (7 February) issued December 2007 spending figures, which show that spending on plastic over the Christmas period reached £32.2 billion, with £5.4 billion spent online.
Up four per cent on the 2006 figures, the figure marks the slowest year on year increase over the same period for four years.
The increase was due to the rise in spending on debit cards, which grew by 6.8 per cent to £20.9 billion - although this was less than half of the increase between 2005 and 2006 (15.3 per cent). Credit card spending at Christmas fell for the second year running - £11.3 billion in December 2007 compared to £11.4 billion for the same period in 2006. There was a decrease of 2.8 per cent in the volume of credit card transactions, down from 197 million transactions for December 2006 to 192 million transactions in 2007.
Overall spending on plastic cards accounted for 64 per cent of total retail sales. There were 690 million plastic card transactions in December 2007, only 3.2 per cent more than during December 2006. This equated to 263 transactions per second throughout the month, compared with 250 in December 2006.
Sandra Quinn, director of communications at APACS, said: "Despite talk of a slowdown once again we spent record amounts last Christmas but it appears that the rapid pace of growth in our festive spending is starting to slow. The increase on 2006 spending was just 4 per cent which compares to increases of just under 9% over the last couple of years, and most markedly credit card spending fell for the second year in a row.
This trend highlights what we have been seeing over the past few years with people increasingly opting to use their debit card rather than credit card; reflecting that people are thinking more carefully about wore carefully about whether they can afford to borrow."
|UK consumer spending||Dec-05||Dec-06||Dec-07||% change from 2005-2006||% change from 2006-2007|
|On plastic cards||£28.5 billion||£31 billion||£32.2 billion||8.8%||4.0%|
|On credit cards||£11.5 billion||£11.4 billion||£11.3 billion||-0.8%||-0.9%|
|On debit cards||£17 billion||£19.6 billion||£20.9 billion||15.3%||6.8%|