100 days to go and 8.6 million* Brits have already started Christmas shopping

Santa Claus is coming to town in 100 days [16th September] and new research from American Express reveals 8.6 million* UK adults have already got into the festive spirit and started their Christmas shopping.

Many of these savvy shoppers hit the stores early to grab a bargain, with almost half (49%) picking up gifts in the sales. Over two in five (41%) don’t want to carry their festive swag all at once, so spread their shopping trips throughout the year, and over a quarter (27%) know what their loved ones want so split the spend over the year.

Top reasons Brits have started their Christmas shopping early Percentage
To pick up presents in the sales 49%
So I don’t have to carry all of my presents in one trip 41%
To spread the cost over the year 27%
To get a deal in the January sales 21%
To avoid the busy shops at Christmas 16%


In-store vs. online
It’s almost an even split for early shoppers with 49% doing the majority of their shopping in-store rather than online. The main reason for this is to see presents in person to avoid having to return them later (61% of shoppers who do the majority of their Christmas shopping in-store). Almost half (45%) say it helps inspire them about what gifts to buy, and 35% enjoy the atmosphere in shops at Christmas time.

Early vs. late

The research also reveals that Brits are increasingly getting a head start on festive shopping, with numbers rising steadily year-on-year. Since 2016, an additional 1.1 million UK adults have started Christmas shopping with 100 days still to go.

Year Brits that start Christmas shopping with 100 days to go
2016 7.5 million**
2017 8.2 million***
2018 8.6 million


Men vs. Women

It’s women who are proving to be more organised this year, with over a fifth (21%) having already ticked items off the festive shopping list, compared to just 11% of men, who are more likely to hit the shops for last minute gifts. Nearly twice as many men (21%) than women (11%) said they’ll start their shopping in December.

Stephen Steinhardt, Director at American Express, says: “With so many people starting their shopping early the Christmas countdown is now well and truly underway. If you’re not an early bird shopper, it’s a good idea to get started before it’s time to dig out the tinsel and decorate your Christmas tree. This will avoid last minute panic buying and help you spread the costs, if this did happen though you could just buy gift cards as they’re the easy option. Even if they don’t like the shop you’ve brought them from, they can look at a gift card kiosk and get them exchanged for cash online, its that simple! But by paying with a card that earns rewards or cashback, you can make your money work harder so you can treat yourself to something special in the New Year.”

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