People are expected to do more post-Christmas sales shopping online but spend more in previous years, a survey has found.
Shoppers plan to spend on average of £247 each in the end-of-year sales, an increase of £85 on last year and £61 more than in 2019, in a reassuring sign for online retailers, according to Barclaycard Payments, which processes nearly £1 in every £3 spent on credit and debit cards in the UK.
However, 47% of those polled believe inflation may affect how much they buy and 49% indicated they will spend less than they usually would.
Boxing Day remains the most popular day for bargain hunters, with 37% planning to buy on 26 December, while 30% said they planned to start browsing the sales on Christmas Eve and 27% on Christmas Day.
Some retailers have chosen to remain closed on Boxing Day, including Sainsbury's, Marks & Spencer and Next.
Almost half (45%) of those who took part in the survey said they will shop less frequently in stores over the sales period and four in 10 say they will shop online in an effort to avoid queues and crowds.
However, concerns over rising COVID-19 cases are not the only reason people indicated that they favoured online shopping, with 34% stating they prefer it generally, 32% saying it is more efficient and 27% did not want to brave the weather.
Some 22% of those asked are looking to support smaller businesses and those closer to home in the sales.
Barclaycard Payments head of online payments Harshna Cayley said: "Despite inflation increasing and worries about the new COVID-19 variant, consumers are keen to continue the tradition of sales shopping, even when some of the larger retailers are closing their physical stores on Boxing Day itself.
"With environmental concerns and the cost of everyday living front of mind, many Brits are seeking sustainable goods and services but also financially planning for the year ahead by taking advantage of deals to buy items for celebrations in the 2022."