Nationwide customers splash out £3.4 Billion in December

19 December 2016

  • The two days prior to Christmas are second and third busiest spending days of the year
  • Food and fuel account for most transactions on 23rd and 24th December
  • Just 4,000 people were logged on during the Queen’s speech last year

Brits are leaving Christmas shopping to the last minute as customer data from 2015 released by Nationwide ranks the two days prior to 25th December just behind Black Friday in the spending stakes.

Figures released by Britain’s biggest building society show that the days of 23rd and 24th December 2015 accounted for 5.4 million purchases, totalling £211m. This makes them the second and third busiest shopping days of the year, with the 23rd accounting for 2.7 million purchases (£120m) and the 24th 2.7 million purchases (£91m).

Black Friday 2015, as the year’s busiest day, accounted for 2.8 million purchases (£150m).

Pay Another Day:
As the year’s busiest month, last December saw the Society’s customers spend £3.4bn. This equates to an impressive £76,164 every minute - up a fifth (21%) on the previous month (November).

According to the customer data, the top five most popular places to spend money during those two days were:


Spend Category Total spent Increase in spent compared to a standard day
Supermarkets £57.1m 90%
Service Stations £7.0m 29%
Betting £6.7m -11%
Restaurants £6.4m 63%
Department Stores £6.0m 141%

While these stores may see the highest spend, it is pharmacies that saw more the greatest increase withspending more than trebling (205%), perhaps as customers fought-off festive colds. Card and gift shops saw a rise of 159% increase as customer dash to get last minute Christmas cards.

Yuletide log-ons:
Many large retailers now start their sales online on Christmas Day and last year Nationwide customers spent £5.3 million, up 20% on the previous year. However, the research shows that despite the festivities, the Society’s customers continue to keep track of their finances on Christmas Day. The data shows:

  • More than 356,000 customers logged on to check their balance on the 25th December
  • The majority (70%) logged on from their mobile device rather than their laptop or computer
  • The most popular time for logging on was 10am, in between opening the presents and cooking lunch
  • But many still take part in the tradition of sitting down for the Queen’s Speech, with just 4,001 people logged on at that time – a daytime low.
  • 756,000 logged onto the Internet Bank and Mobile Bank on New Year’s Day, possibly to check just how much they had spent the night before or to see their current financial position before setting a New Year’s resolution to manage their money better.

Paul Horlock, Nationwide Head of Payments, said: “While we see a large spike in spending over the Christmas period, it is the last two days before the big day that see the biggest spend as people leave it to the last minute to make purchases. Unsurprisingly, the majority of spend is in supermarkets as people purchase their food for the holiday season, followed by service stations where hopefully people are filling up the tank before visiting friends and family rather than buying Christmas gifts!

“However, reassuringly our customers continue to keep an eye on their finances by logging on to the Internet Bank and Mobile Bank.”

As spending is set to peak next week, customers should make sure they take steps to ensure they shop safely. Hints and tips can be found here.

About Nationwide

Nationwide is the world's largest building society as well as one of the largest savings providers and a top-three provider of mortgages in the UK. It is also a major provider of current accounts, credit cards, ISAs and personal loans. Nationwide has around 15 million customers.

Customers can manage their finances in a branch, via the mobile app, on the telephone, internet and post. The Society has around 18,000 employees. Nationwide's head office is in Swindon with administration centres based in Northampton, Bournemouth and Dunfermline. The Society also has a number of call centres across the UK.

Please note: If you are a customer looking for information on our products and services, please visit the main website.