Nearly 10M Brits Set to Raid Their Overdrafts to Pay for Gifts This Christmas

30 November 2016

Research from Atom, the UK’s first bank built exclusively for mobile, uncovers Brits’ spending habits this Christmas


1st December – With the season of giving and receiving nearly upon us, new research reveals the many ways in which Brits are helping to make their festive finances stretch a little bit further this Christmas.

  • 15% of Brits dip into their overdrafts as a way to make ends meet over the festive season
    • 20% of us admit to recycling past presents in a bid to boost budgets
    • 1 in 10 of us (8%) buy second hand gifts and pass them off as new
    • More than half of us (51%) wait for the sales before tackling the gift list
    • Over 1 in 10 (13%) enterprising Brits dig out their dud gifts and sell them online to help their finances go further come January

It’s the millennials who are finding themselves the most squeezed, with 12% of this group anticipating having to take out a loan and 27% planning to go into their overdraft to pay for Christmas, and over half (53%) forced to buy presents in the sale or second hand.

With second-hand shopping growing every year in popularity, one in ten savvy Christmas shoppers are now buying previously owned items as gifts for friends and family, in a bid to stretch out the festive finances. One in five are going one step further and recycling their own past presents, showing that this Christmas charity really does begin at home.

Londoners are some of the biggest converts to this frugal fad, with a quarter (25%) of the capital’s residents planning to repurpose presents this Christmas. However, in Wales and Northern Ireland nearly one in three (29%) admitted this thrifty approach to giving at Christmas – making them the most enterprising parts of the UK.

When it comes to harnessing the online marketplace to peddle presents, the North East is the region that most embraces this trend, with one in four (19%) admitting to using the internet to line their pockets from present profits.

Chief Executive of Atom bank, Mark Mullen, said:

“Atom was created out of a real need for a bank that can help you make your money work harder for you, so we’re all for people being creative in how to make their finances stretch that bit further. With online selling and second hand shopping so popular, what once might have seemed scrooge-like practises are the skills of savvy shoppers! It’s clear that we all want to be generous at Christmas so if we need to pass on a gift we aren’t fussed about to someone that will love it, it seems like a sensible choice.”

The research was carried out by YouGov, polling over 2,000 UK adults.


For more information, please contact:

Katy Ringsdore Head of PR Atom bank 07740315395

Olivia Gillespie 07581788937

Notes For Editors

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2,157 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 24th-25th October 2016. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).

About Atom bank

Atom is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the PRA. Atom is 6th in the KPMG Global Fintech 100 (2016) the only UK business listed in the top 10. Savings accounts are currently available to customers. A full range of banking products will be available widely later in the year and into 2017.

Founded in 2014 and based in the City of Durham, Atom has a growing team of over 250 people drawn from across the country, working with partners to bring pioneering technology to Europe for the first time. Atom is building the UK’s first bank designed specifically for digital, offering easy and convenient banking, along with unique and engaging ways to manage money.