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Rush for Paralympics tickets boosts Visa spending


3 min read Partner content

British consumers have been rushing to buy up tickets for the Paralympic Games in London, according to new figures from Visa.

During week commencing 6 August, British Visa card holders increased their spending on tickets by 117.8%, up from £21.3m in 2011 to £46.4m in 2012.

Games organisers LOCOG has confirmed that 2.1m of the 2.5m tickets available for the Paralympics have been sold, with 600,000 purchased in the last month alone.

The data comes from Visa's fourth and final London 2012 Games Spend Tracker.

It tracks both domestic and international spending in the UK during Games Times.

Visa said British card holders "scrambled to buy last minute tickets for the Olympics and purchase Paralympic tickets ahead of the next phase of the Olympiad, due to commence on 29th August".

British consumers also increased their spending in restaurants, bars and clubs, and sporting goods also saw a boost in purchases in the last week of the Olympic Games in London.

Spending on Visa cards at restaurants in the UK was up from £162.5m in 2011 to £191m in 2012, a rise of 20.6%.

Spending on Visa cards at bars and clubs was up 17.5%, from £48m in 2011 to £58m in 2012.

Similarly, spending on Visa cards on sporting goods was up from £43m in 2011 to £62m in 2012, a year on year rise of 46.5%.

Dr. Steve Perry, Commercial Director at Visa Europe said:

"These were The Games that people just did not want to end! The rush for tickets by Brits over the past week shows how much they wanted to be a part of The Games, with spending on tickets rising 117.8%.

"This scramble for tickets bodes well for the Paralympics, as the excitement and interest looks set to continue well into September.

"With spending also looking healthier on the high street last week, hopes for an Indian summer abound."

Visitors to the UK were also caught up in the excitement of the Games, with spending on international Visa cards in the week commencing 6 August up 9.3% year on year to £450.5m.

Retail spending was up just over 20% at £125.2m, accounting for 28% of the international spend and entertainment accounted for 15.1%.

Visitors from the USA accounted for the highest percentage of international Visa spending with 12.7% or £57m.

In second place were French visitors, third were Japanese, fourth were Italians and fifth were Australian tourists.


The Visa London 2012 Games Spend Tracker tracks both domestic and international spending in the UK during Games Times. The indicator for domestic spend is based on spending on all Visa debit, credit and prepaid cards which are used to make an average of over 1.9 billion transactions every quarter and account for £1 in £3 of all UK spending. For domestic based indicators – which are based on card issued to UK households – the spending data are adjusted (where applicable) for a variety of factors such as refunds, cash back, card issuance, changing consumer preferences to pay by card, and inflation. These adjustments mean these data are distinct from Visa Europe’s business performance and are done so with the aim to provide a robust indicator of real UK consumer expenditure.

For international data, spending on all Visa debit, credit and prepaid cards from outside the UK is taken into account. The numbers are not adjusted for any of the aforementioned factors. Therefore direct comparisons with indicators of domestic spend should not be made; the international data should be viewed as indicative of trends in international spending patterns in the UK during the London 2012 Games.

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