Economy

Spending on Christmas gifts to fall, but online Christmas shopping climbs

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Australians are expected to spend less on Christmas gifts this year, according to the December Sensis Consumer Report released today. And more Australians are also expecting to purchase gifts online this year, up three percentage points to 29%.

Australians are expected to spend less on Christmas gifts this year, according to the December Sensis Consumer Report released today. And more Australians are also expecting to purchase gifts online this year, up three percentage points to 29%.

Meanwhile the downturn is not affecting people’s holiday plans much, with the same number planning to travel interstate and overseas as last year.

Report author Christena Singh said Australians on average were expected to each spend $871 on Christmas gifts, $35 less than last year.

“We are still very much in the spirit of the season, buying gifts for 11 people, the same number we bought for last year.”

The bulk of Australians’ Christmas present purchases will be toys, clothing, gift vouchers, books, cash as a gift, CDs/DVDs, homewares, personal grooming items, electronic games and jewellery.

“But instead of spending $82 per gift, Australians are expecting to spend $79 per gift on average,” Singh says.

Interestingly, the majority of Australians (59%) said that they had not been personally affected by the current economic situation. The main impact has been on superannuation (9%), followed by increases in prices (7%) and share portfolios losing value (5%).

About 23% of Australians believe they are better off than a year ago, up by two percentage points from last quarter. Forty-seven per cent believe their position is about the same as a year ago, up five percentage points. The proportion of Australians who feel worse off is down eight percentage points from last quarter to 29%. Over the quarter, there has been an improvement of six percentage points in the overall proportion of Australians feeling better off than a year ago.

The travel industry will only be marginally affected by the downturn. Thirty-one per cent of Australians plan to take a holiday within their own state (down from 34% last year). Nineteen per cent are planning to go interstate for a holiday (the same as last year), while 8% are taking off overseas (down one percentage point on last year).

And in good news for retailers, Australians are preferring to pay for presents with cash. The report found that 65% of Australians will purchase gifts using cash, up four percentage points on last year, while credit card purchases are expected to be down four percentage points to 33%.

More Australians are also expecting to purchase gifts online this year, up three percentage points to 29%. Females and those under 30 are most likely to buy some of their gifts online.

And the survey reports the best gifts Australians have ever received:

  • Jewellery (11%).
  • Children/grandchildren (6%).
  • Travel (4%).
  • Handmade gifts (3%).
  • Car (3%).
  • Books (3%).

“And be warned – for females, kitchen appliances top the least popular gift category, while for men it is clothes,” Singh says.

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