APACS, the UK payments association, today (13 February) issued December 2008 spending figures, which show that spending on plastic over the Christmas period reached £32.3 billion, with £4.7 billion* spent online.
Sandra Quinn, Director of Communications said:
"December's plastic spending figures reflected the unprecedented events that took place in December. Whilst the number of transactions was higher than in December 2007, average transaction values fell, no doubt influenced by price discounting by many major retailers and the VAT cut. Also, this fits in with what supermarkets were reporting - in that people were buying the same number of items but opting for cheaper budget alternatives.
"The fall in credit card spending follows the trend we've seen over the last four years with customers continually preferring to put most of their card spending on debit card."
In comparison to December 2007, total plastic spending in December 2008 rose by a mere 0.3 per cent by value, but in terms of volume increased by 4.2%. Credit card spending dropped by both value and volume, falling 4.8 per cent and 2.2 per cent respectively from £11.3 billion (192 million transactions) to £10.8 billion (187 million transactions). Similarly debit card spending has increased 3.1 per cent by value and 6.7 per cent by volume from £20.9 billion (498 million transactions) to £21.6 billion (532 million transactions).
Although spending in December 2008 was comparatively flat when compared to December 2007, spending on debit cards is currently growing at an annual rate of 9.5%, having increased from £224.0 billion in 2007 to £245.4 billion in 2008. Annual spending on credit cards is currently growing at 1.9%, having increased from £123.9 billion in 2007 to £126.3 billion in 2008.