Northerners Most Generous at Christmas

by : Paul McIndoe

People in the north of England spent more in the last week before Christmas, than anywhere else in the UK, with those in the South East and Anglia spending the least, according to research carried out by Sainsbury's Bank.

Total expenditure one week before Christmas Day in the North East, Yorkshire and Humberside was estimated at ?339.84 per adult, with the South East and Anglia spending almost 36% less, shelling out only ?218.50 each. The second most generous region during the festive seven day countdown was Wales and the South West who decided to splash out an average of ?323.40 each, while Londoners were marginally less extravagant spending an average ?322.00.

Despite the traditional view of Scots being canny with their cash, that region came in fourth in the table of seven-day Christmas spending recording an average ?255.60, slightly ahead of the North West on ?253.45. The Midlands, second-from-bottom in the spending league spent marginally more than the least generous region of South East and Anglia, who paid out ?231.15 per adult on average.

The research also found that 1.4million people intended to spend over ?1,000 during the last seven days of Christmas shopping with 4.4million more intent on spending between ?500 and ?1,000. There was also a huge discrepancy between the sexes with men expecting to spend 40% more than women, splashing out ?325.48 on average in the seven days before Christmas compared to ?231.63 spent by women.

Additionally, the research also found that festive spending this year will exceed last year's total for the same period. Sainsbury's research found that the nation intended to spend ?11.85billion over the last seven days, as opposed to 2006's total of ?9.15billion, a staggering increase of almost 30%. Of the total spending figure around 18%, almost ?2.1billion, will be put straight onto credit cards by 8.6million last minute spenders.

Despite, the statement from Sainsbury's head of cards, Donald McLeod that: "Credit cards can be a safe and convenient way to do your Christmas shopping," their own research identified that only six out of 10 of those putting their festive spending on credit cards will pay it off entirely by the end of January meaning that almost 3.44million Britons will be carrying their Christmas debt into February 2008. Of those, 15% believe they will clear their Christmas debt by April, 1% think it will take up to a year, and the remainder are unsure how long it will take to pay it off.