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Aussies spending less on presents this Christmas

…and staycations are on trend, new poll shows


Aussies plan to be a little more austere with their Christmas present spending this year – and many will be spending their holidays at home, according to this year’s Homeloans Christmas Spending survey.

Resoundingly, the rising cost of living is curtailing householders’ spending habits, with 63% of respondents saying that affects how much they spend.

Sixty-one per cent of respondents plan to spend less on Christmas presents this year than they have in previous years. But NSW residents are bucking the trend – only around half say they’ll spend less this year, lower than the rest of Australia.

Conversely, Queenslanders are the ones who are watching their pennies the most, the survey shows, with 71% of Queensland respondents saying the rising cost of living will impact how much they spend.

“A clear theme from the comments we received was that finances were tight this year,” says Will Keall, Homeloans’ national marketing manager. “We had respondents tell us that as their children grow older they don’t need to buy as much, and, therefore, are spending less. Some have just bought new homes so are watching their budgets, while others are saving for big expenses such as holidays or because their families are expanding.”




Staycations popular

With higher living costs affecting spending habits, holidaying at home is high on the agenda, with almost three quarters saying they won’t be going away for Christmas.

“There was a strong response to this question, with many people simply stating they can’t afford to go away for the holidays,” says Keall. “Equally, a lot of people said they are working over this period, while others responded that they’re building or renovating homes, waiting for the birth of a baby, or simply staying home to watch the cricket on TV!”

Of those who are travelling, more than half plan to stay within their home state, over a quarter will travel interstate while 17% plan to go overseas. WA residents are most likely to go overseas (37%), compared with the rest of Australia (13%), and they’re also least likely to go interstate (7%).

NSW residents are most likely to go away (35%), and are also among the most likely to stay within their own state (57%). Victorians, however, are the least likely to holiday within their own state, with half (49%) of those going away opting to travel interstate. This is significantly higher than the rest of the country, with just 23% of holidaymakers set to travel interstate.




Budgeting key

With many concerned about higher living expenses, they are doing what they can to cut down on costs at Christmas. For example, more than half of the respondents admitted to purchasing gifts at retail sales during the year. Of those who are most likely to buy Christmas gifts during sales times, South Australia is at the forefront, while Queenslanders are least likely to stock up while sales are on.

“Many can also benefit from refinancing their home loans or consolidating their debts and saving significant amounts of money on their monthly repayments,” Keall adds.

Online shopping is also proving popular this year, with three-quarters of respondents doing some shopping online (compared with under 60% in 2012). NSW respondents are far more likely to do online shopping for Christmas presents, with almost a quarter saying they’ll do most or all of their shopping online. By comparison, WA respondents are the least likely to do online shopping.




“Convenience and reducing costs are two key reasons why online shopping is popular with some people – that and simply because they don’t like crowds,” Keall says. “Those who won’t be buying online say they prefer to touch and feel the products before they buy, or because they want to support local businesses.”

Cash is definitely not king this year, and the number of people who say they will be using credit cards to purchase gifts has risen from 59% in 2012 to 61% this year.

Other findings of the survey included:

  • 43% of respondents set a budget for presents (compared with 48% in 2012)
  • 61% put a limit on each Christmas present for each family member (down from 69% in 2012)
  • The majority (62%) of respondents buy presents for their kids, in addition to Santa gifts
  • Just 10% have dedicated bank accounts for Christmas presents (up marginally from 9% in 2012)

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Lisa Llewellyn

Lisa started her working life as a property and financial journalist, working for media outlets including BRW, Radio 3AW and Australian Investment magazine. She turned her hand to PR and opened a boutique PR consultancy in 2001.

The opinions expressed in this article are the opinions of the author(s) and not necessarily those of Homeloans Ltd.