During the Christmas trading period online spending saw the strongest year-on-year increase since April 2012, according to the latest data from Barclaycard.

The data reveals that total retail spending grew 4.0% year-on-year over Christmas and was driven entirely by online shopping which jumped 17.9% while the high street suffered tough trading conditions, with in-store spending growth almost static at 0.2 per cent.

The strong performance saw online sales account for a quarter (24.6%) of total spend, which has only once been surpassed, in January 2015 (25.4%).


Department stores were a bright spot on the high street, with in-store spend growing 4.5%, but even here digital dominated, as online spend increased 18.0%, resulting in overall department store growth of 7.2%.

December’s online spend growth followed the biggest ever Black Friday, which rocketed 15.1% compared to the same day last year. The average transaction value of online purchases rose 6.6% as well, suggesting shoppers are becoming more confident about making major purchases online. Once again the high street lost out, suffering a 6.7% decrease in spending and a drop of 7.8% in average transaction value. As a consequence, overall spend on Black Friday was down 1.0% versus 2014.

Chris Wood, chief operating officer at Barclaycard comments: “In many ways, this Christmas brought to the fore all the shopping trends of 2015. The large spikes in spending, centred around sales days like Black Friday, emphasise consumers’ increasing search for value as they hold back their spending until the best deals emerge.

“Likewise, whilst online shopping has grown in popularity throughout the year, the strength of consumer preference for digital over the high street was seen in full effect over the Christmas period. As retailers continue to release their Christmas trading updates we expect many to reflect these changing behaviours.”