Equifax research reveals that 22% of people living in the South of England feel the pressure to spend more than they can afford for the festive season

According to new YouGov research commissioned by Equifax, the credit information expert, 29% of Brits who celebrate Christmas say they feel pressured to spend more than they can afford for the festive season. And those living in the East of England and Wales feel the most pressure to spend more than they can afford, with 33% of people in these regions admitting to this, compared to just 22% in the South.

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On average, people expect to spend £441.24 on Christmas this year, with around 1 in 5 (21%) thinking they will spend more than they did last year. In Scotland, 29% think they will spend more this year than they did last year, a significant increase on the overall UK average of 21%. Londoners were next at 26%.

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Scottish consumers appear to be the biggest spenders, on average at £479.14; those living in the South seem to be more prudent averaging £403.16.

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Christmas on credit

The research also revealed that 7% of those who used a credit card to pay for Christmas 2015 still haven’t paid off the debt.

Over a quarter (26%) used a credit card towards paying for Christmas last year. For those who chose to use credit, over half (54%) paid off the bill within 1 month. However, 15% took 2 months or more. Worryingly 5% took more than 6 months to pay off the Christmas spending on their credit card and 7% admitted to still not having paid off the bill fully by October of this year.

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Only 41% of Londoners managed to pay off their 2015 Christmas spending within one month compared to 67% of people living in the Midlands. However, 10% of those living in the North took over six months to pay off their Christmas spending bills.

“It’s clear that many of us feel the pressure to spend for Christmas – which can leave us with hefty bills to pay come the New Year”, commented Lisa Hardstaff, Equifax credit information expert. “But with over a quarter of people using credit cards towards paying for Christmas last year, we’re reminding consumers to plan ahead to ensure they can pay it off as quickly as possible. This particularly applies to the 11% who expect to spend more than £1,000 or more this year. It is vital that if they plan to use credit that they make repayments on time and if possible not just pay the minimum each month, otherwise they could end up like the 7% who are still paying off their Christmas spending from last year.”

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