This week saw one of the most important weeks in a retailer’s calendar. With the dawn of December and ‘Manic Monday’ – dubbed the biggest online shopping of the year – shoppers spend up to 60% more in this period than comparable periods throughout the rest of the year.

Some of the facts and figures surrounding Manic Monday 2011 are astounding:

  • Online spending on Manic Monday was estimated to hit 22.4 million pounds per hour
  • Online Christmas sales on Manic Monday were expected to rise by 29% on last year –  to 11.5 billion
  • Online retail sales are set to reach 70 billion – up 1 billion from last years levels

‘¦ all despite the current levels of unemployment, economic climate and reduction in credit availability.

For retailers and online retailers, Manic Monday no doubt came as a boost to a tough year so far. As a specialist debt and bankruptcy solicitor, however, the amount being spent during the festive period and the inevitable bills that are accumulated, are a concern.

Christmas is a notoriously bad time for running up debt.  Retailing is the God of our times and Christmas is a means to an end.  It is a time for excessive consumption in eating, drinking and buying presents.  Certainly every parent will be familiar with the pressure exerted to make sure Father Christmas does not just turn up with a bag of oranges and a Toblerone!

The big question remains – how is this time of excessive consumption to be paid for?

Certainly, there seems to have been an air of realism sweeping the Country and influencing our consumption.  This can be seen to be taking place from the top down – with the government announcing a series of austerity measures, through to the average consumer on the street who will cut their cloth accordingly and not spend excessively.

Time will tell as to how much we will spend at Christmas – the retailers usually announce their figures immediately following Christmas sales.  Past history shows us, however, that people do not cut back at Christmas to enable their children to have as much as possible.  It may be the case that cutbacks are seen in other areas such as summer holidays and day out etc.

The restriction in available unsecured credit and the new air of realism certainly seems to have made people more aware that if credit is taken out, it needs to be paid back at some point.  People do seem to be conscious of what they are spending and how much debt they have.

Maybe the difference is now that people will have a good idea how big the credit card bill will be when it lands on the doormat in January rather than a few years ago, when credit was a bit more free and easy.  Whichever way it is, whether we have got to grips with how much we are spending and keeping limits on it or as we used to do spending a little more freely one pact remains the same – the bigger the Christmas spending the bigger the New Year repayments.