Flat consumer spending four weeks from Christmas

Figures from Visa’s Weekly Christmas Spending Tracker show that the underlying trend in UK consumer spending is flat, just four weeks from Christmas

London, 28 November 2012 - Consumer spending in the UK is showing little sign of uplift just four weeks from Christmas, according to the Visa Weekly Christmas Spending Tracker.

The Tracker uses adjusted Visa Europe card transaction data to provide a robust indicator of total consumer expenditure across all payment methods. With £1 in every £3 in the UK spent on a Visa card, the Tracker gives a uniquely comprehensive and timely insight into the health of consumer spending.

The latest Tracker, for the week commencing 19th November, shows that spending is down -3.7% compared to the same week in 2011. Spending across four week averages – an indicator of underlying trends – also saw a slight decline of -0.8%. Spending picked up slightly in comparison to the previous week, registering a 1.2% increase.

The findings come as the UK prepares for Mega Monday – Monday 3rd December – when Visa Europe is predicting that £320 million will be spent on Visa cards online with transactions topping 6.8 million.

Commenting on the findings, Dr Steve Perry, Commercial Director at Visa Europe, said: "Data from Visa’s Weekly Christmas Spending Tracker indicate that consumer spend in the UK is flat, meaning that retailers online and on the High Street are going to have to work hard to extract the same level of spend as last year. Hard-pressed consumers are evidently looking for ways to make their money go further this Christmas. This is why we expect a record number of shoppers to seek out bargains and offers online on Monday 3rd December, the UK’s Mega Monday."

How the Visa UK Christmas Spend Tracker is compiled:

The Visa UK Christmas Spend Tracker uses card transaction data to provide a robust indicator of total consumer expenditure across all payment methods. It is based on spending on all Visa debit, credit and prepaid cards which are used to make an average of over 1.9 billion transactions every quarter and account for £1 in £3 of all UK spending. Working with Markit, these card spending data figures are adjusted for a variety of factors such as card issuance, changing consumer preferences to pay by card rather than cash, and inflation. These adjustments mean that these data are distinct from Visa Europe’s business performance and the Tracker reflects overall consumer spending, not just that on cards.

About Visa Europe

In Europe, there are 460 million Visa debit, credit and commercial cards. In the 12 months ending June 2012 those cards were used to make purchases and cash withdrawals to the value of €1.8 trillion. 14% of consumer spending at the point of sale in Europe is with a Visa card, and almost 80% of that is on Visa debit cards.

Visa Europe is independent of global Visa Inc., with an exclusive, irrevocable and perpetual licence in Europe, while both companies operate to ensure global interoperability. As a dedicated European payment system Visa Europe is able to respond quickly to the specific market needs of European banks and their customers - cardholders and retailers - and to meet the European Commission’s objective to create a true internal market for payments.

Visa enjoys unsurpassed acceptance around the world. In addition, Visa/PLUS is one of the world’s largest global ATM networks, offering cash access in local currency in over 200 countries.

For more information, visit http://www.visaeurope.com/