Very Merry Christmas Spending Statistics From Australia

Christmas spending statistics

The weather outside may be frightful, but Aussies sure know how to make the holidays delightful with their elaborate festivities and generous spending habits. Experiencing the holiday season in Australia is a joyous adventure filled with Christmas carols, intricate light displays, wonderful gifts and barbies on the beach. But just how much is spent at Christmas?

Read some fun Christmas spending statistics brought to you by the Australian Santa Claus’ very own little helpers.

10 Tree-Mendous Stats to Get You Feeling Santa-Mental

  • In 2018, an average of $464 per person was spent on gifts during Christmas in Australia.
  • Aussie holiday shoppers blew over $55 billion in retail sales around Christmas 2020.
  • Australians were expected to spend 10% more on food for Christmas in 2020.
  • The retail sales volume for Q4 2020 increased by 2.5% around Christmas.
  • 60% of Aussies planned to shop in department stores for the 2020 holiday season.
  • Over 5.5 million households did their Christmas shopping online in 2020. 
  • Dec. 1–Dec. 8, 2020 was the biggest week in Australian eCommerce history.
  • 43% of Australians said they were spending less because of Covid-19.
  • 26% of Aussie consumers used Facebook as an inspiration for their Christmas retail purchases in 2019.
  • $93 is the average amount spent for a significant Christmas gift in Australia.

How Much Does the Average Person Spend on Christmas Shopping?

1. In 2018, an average of $464 per person was spent on gifts during Christmas in Australia.

(Statista)

‘Tis no surprise that Australians spend the most money on presents during Christmastime. However, Aussies also like some adventure over the holidays, evident from the average travel spend of $444 per person.

2. Aussies spent over 130$ on alcoholic beverages during the 2018 holiday season in Australia.

(Statista)

The holiday spending habits of Australians also include expenditures for Christmas meals, in addition to alcohol. In 2018, the average Aussie paid $122 for food during the holiday season. Some Australians also felt generous and gave an average of $60 to charity, which is about the same amount they spent on decorations. The lowest total of $42 was spent on hampers.

3. Western Australians spent a total average of $1,416 per person during Christmas in 2018.

(Statista)

Per the Christmas spending statistics for October 2018, Westerners were the biggest spenders across all states, together with Victorians, who disbursed an average of $1,304 per person. NSW followed closely with an average spend of $1,301, while Queensland reached an average of $1,275. South Australia was the stingiest state in 2018, with a Christmas spending of $1,250 per person.

4. Aussie holiday shoppers blew over $55 billion in retail sales around Christmas 2020.

(National Retail Association)

Most recent data on Christmas retail sales in Australia confirmed that Christmas 2020 was the biggest one to date, with Aussies spending $55.4 billion throughout late November and all of December. Per the NRA, this 11% increase since 2019 was the result of increased demand after the various restrictions and lockdowns and the cancelled travelling plans of Australians.

5. Western Australia’s retail spending rose by 17% during the 2020 holiday season.

(National Retail Association)

The same Christmas figures released by the National Retail Association also confirmed growth in retail sales in every Australian state and territory. Similar to WA, the Northern Territory recorded a 17% sales increase since the previous year—the highest in the country. Queensland’s and Tasmania’s Christmas retail sales expanded by a solid 14% and 17%, respectively. 

New South Wales, South Australia, and Victoria, on the other hand, recorded a smaller surge of 9%. The Australian Capital Territory’s total retail spending went up by only 7%.

6. Australians were expected to spend 10% more on food for Christmas in 2020.

(Roy Morgan)

Roy Morgan’s annual forecast on the average amount spent on Christmas predicted significant changes in retail spending for the 2020 holiday season—due to the impact of the pandemic on the country’s economy. For example, while a food spending surge of around $2.2 billion (10%) was expected, as compared to 2019, paying for hospitality services was expected to decrease by a significant 18.7%.

Household goods sales were also expected to rise by 9.6%, and online and other types of retailing were forecast to go up by 6.6%.

7. Department stores were predicted to experience a decrease of 2% in sales.

(Roy Morgan)

As a result of the pandemic restrictions, department stores were expected to earn $2,987 million in the period leading to Christmas 2020—a decrease of 2% from the $3,048 million registered in sales for the previous year.

The clothing, footwear, and accessories category were also expected to experience reduced sales of up to 12.2%—profits lower by $500 million than the previous holiday season in Australia.

8. The retail sales volume for Q4 2020 increased by 2.5% around Christmas.

(Australian Bureau of Statistics)

According to the 2020 Christmas spending facts released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, retail sales volumes increased by 2.5% in Q4 2020, despite the pandemic restriction from August through October. Were it not for the impressive 12.8% volume increase recorded in Victoria, the overall sales volumes would have dropped nationwide.

The clothing, footwear and accessories category recorded the highest rise in volume with 18.1%, followed closely by department stores with 12%. On the other hand, food and household goods retailing experienced a quarterly fall of 2.6% and 0.6%, individually.

Christmas Retail Sales and Shopping Facts

9. 60% of Aussies planned to shop in department stores for the 2020 holiday season.

(CPM Australia)

Per a November 2020 CPM survey, almost two-thirds of consumers decided to shop for the holiday season in Australia at department stores. However, shoppers didn’t stick to one shopping channel preference. Around 45% said they planned to visit discount department stores as well. A third of respondents also said that internet shopping is a convenient Christmas retail format—an expected choice since it includes a delivery service with all the necessary Covid-19 precautions.

10. 51% of shoppers wanted to buy gift cards and certificates.

(CPM Australia)

These CPM gift-giving statistics also tell us that one in two shoppers thought to get gift cards and certificates for Christmas, an increase of 5% from 2019. Half of the younger respondents (18–34 years old) said that clothes and footwear are a wonderful Christmas gift as well.

11. 30% of Aussies prefer paying with debit cards.

(Reserve Bank of Australia)

According to a survey conducted by Australia’s central bank, almost a third of the retail spending in Australia is done with debit cards. Credit cards are also for 22% of all purchases. The remaining sales are concluded with either cash (37%) or other methods (11%).

12. Over 5.5 million households did their Christmas shopping online in 2020. 

(Australia Post) 

Online Christmas shopping in Australia was on an upwards trend starting October 2020, when the Australian Post Group recorded 5.26 million households purchasing products via the internet. The number of families buying online increased to 5.52 million in November and peaked at 5.68 million in December 2020.

The same data on online shopping trends in Australia also showed year-on-year growth of 55% for November 2020, which dropped to 35% in December 2020.

13. Victoria had the highest YOY growth in online shopping in November 2020.

(Australia Post)

Christmas 2020 in Australia had much more online shoppers than the previous year. For instance, Victoria experienced a 65% YOY increase in online purchases in November and a 32% growth in December 2020. The other states and territories recorded a similar increase in online retail sales.

14. Dec. 1–Dec. 8, 2020 was the biggest week in Australian eCommerce history.

(Australia Post)

The week starting 23 November grew 48% year-on-year, with many retailers launching sales ahead of time for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. The following week saw a YOY growth of 42%—making it the greatest week in eCommerce in the history of Christmas in Australia.

15. 2,510,000 households shopped for clothes online in December 2020.

(Australia Post)

Australia Post’s report on online shopping trends shows that Aussies were most keen on buying from Fashion & Apparel websites around Christmas 2020—with over 2.5 million households shopping for clothing items. Almost the same number of families also purchased products from other variety stores.

On the other hand, Media (740,000) and Food & Liquor (680,000) retailers had the smallest number of households buying from their online stores.

16. NSW made up 34.5% of Australia’s national online purchases in December 2020.

(Australia Post)

After a cluster of Covid-19 turned up on the Northern Beaches, NSW’s restrictions tightened right before the holiday season in Australia, when the state went into lockdown. Thanks to the cooperation of the residents who avoided shopping in person during Boxing Day, online sales spiked during this period.

Shopper Statistics

17. Gen Y planned on spending $557 during Christmas 2017.

(CommBank)

While boomers and Gen X had the highest average Christmas budget in 2017, millennials were much merrier than in 2016—evident by their 14% higher spend for Christmas than the previous year.

18. 53% of men said they start their holiday shopping at least a month before Christmas.

(CommBank)

In contrast, almost 80% of women answered they begin their holiday shopping at least four weeks before Christmas, and that they expect to finish by 17 December. On the other hand, men will put it off until the last hour, even buying their gifts a day before Christmas in Australia.

19. Aussies spend $136 on gifts for their family.

(CommBank)

According to the same gift-giving statistics from 2017, Australians spend $98 more for family members than friends, and will only spare $16 for workmates. Looking at which age group splurges the most for group gifts, Gen Z and Gen Y take the top spot, spending $58 and $51, respectively. On the other hand, Aussies over 48 years of age buy gifts valued at $35 or less for their friends.

20. In 2020, 48% of Australian consumers did their Christmas shopping in November.

(CPM Australia)

The Christmas spending habits of Australians have remained relatively unchanged in recent years. On the 2020 CPM survey, almost half of all interviewees answered that they would purchase Christmas gifts in November. Late November shopping (25%) remained more popular than early November shopping (23%).

21. The large majority of Australians prefer free over fast shipping.

(Pitney Bowes)

Per a 2019 survey conducted by Pitney Bowes, four-fifths of online shoppers prefer free over fast shipping—a minor 1% decrease since 2018, but a 6% boost from 2017. Note that this online shopping study also included participants from several countries other than Australia.

22. 56% of parents in Australia wanted to buy their children toys for Christmas 2020. 

(eBay)

Shortly before the 2020 holiday season in Australia, eBay revealed that over half of Aussie parents were shopping for children’s toys they can also play with—most of which were dads (62%). Due to the economic impact of Covid-19, other factors influencing parents’ shopping behaviour included affordability (50%) and product longevity (47%).

Furthermore, eBay predicted that the average Christmas spending per child would reach $184.

23. 43% of Australians said they were spending less because of Covid-19.

(Statista)

As a result of the restrictions and consequences brought on by the pandemic, almost one in every two Aussies said they were spending less, according to an online survey conducted in late 2020. Around third of all respondents also said they have shifted to online shopping or do their purchasing locally, or both.

24. 91% of online shoppers used their mobile phones to make a purchase.

(Australia Post)

The online spending habits of Australians involve using various devices to access the internet. While over 90% of users used their cell phones to buy online, a large percentage (76%) also used a laptop. Surprisingly, even tablets (61%) and smart TVs (60%) were used for internet purchases. 

The same in-depth study about the online shopping habits of Aussies revealed that an average of 4.4 different devices were used to go online in 2020—an increase from 4.0 in 2019.

25. 26% of Aussie consumers used Facebook as an inspiration for their Christmas retail purchases in 2019.

(Facebook for Business)

Facebook’s Christmas shopping statistics for 2019 show that holiday shoppers are influenced by social media and various discounts when making their purchases. For example, over a quarter of surveyed consumers responded they review products on Facebook to find the best Christmas gift. Furthermore, 51% answered that the holiday season in Australia is the best time to find top deals.

26. 72% of surveyed shoppers were influenced by product prices when buying gifts.

(Facebook for Business)

While most holiday shoppers said they were driven by good prices (72%) and product availability (69%), over half answered that they also prefer the variety of product choices and free shipping options offered by retailers.

27. 60% of shoppers said they use the holiday season in Australia to explore new products.

(Facebook for Business)

The majority of surveyed consumers said they try out various new products more during Christmastime than the rest of the year. Facebook’s Christmas figures also show that 61% of surveyed Aussie shoppers also like to try new food brands over the holidays.

28. 136%  more boomers used mobile devices for online Christmas shopping in Australia in 2019.

(Facebook for Business)

Using new technologies for retail shopping has been a booming trend in recent years, as evident by Facebook’s holiday survey. In 2019, more than double the number of Aussie boomers bought something online with their mobile phones than the year prior. Gen Xers also recorded a significant YOY growth of 61%.

Adversely, zoomers (31%) and millennials (34%) experienced a lesser growth in online mobile purchases.

Australian Gift-Giving Statistics

28. Australians shell out $19.8 billion on presents each year.

(Financial Planning Association of Australia)

Australia is a nation of generous gift givers, as confirmed by the 2019 findings of the Financial Planning Association of Australia (FPA). The FPA research revealed that 85% of Aussies find greater pleasure in giving gifts rather than receiving them—contributing almost $20 billion in retail purchases every year and averaging around $100 per month.

29. The average Australian adult spends $437 on gifts for a partner or a spouse each year.

(Financial Planning Association of Australia)

FPA’s research on Australian spending habits also reveals the consumers’ average gift-giving budget for their family members. For example, while older Aussies spend almost $440 a year for their significant other, they buy gifts valued at $360 for their children. They also put aside $201 and $115 for their parents and pets, respectively.

30. $93 is the average amount spent for a significant Christmas gift in Australia.

(Financial Planning Association of Australia)

Australians with younger families pay even more, putting aside around $117 for a significant Christmas present. Generally, cash is the most popular Christmas gift, with 31% of respondents choosing it as their go-to present during the holiday season in Australia. Food and alcohol (14%) and tech gadgets (12%) are also popular gift choices.

31. 73% of Australians don’t have a gift budget.

(Financial Planning Association of Australia)

Shockingly, the majority of Aussies don’t account for presents when planning their budget. Having said that, women have more responsible spending habits, as 31% of them plan their gift-giving expenses. Conversely, only 24% of men determine a budget beforehand.

32. 41% have re-gifted a gift to someone else or used it for a different event.

(Financial Planning Association of Australia)

Gen Y takes the lead as the generation who recycles presents the most, with 54% of them revealing they re-gifted. On the other hand, only a third of baby boomers admitted they had repurposed a gift in the past.

33. Around three in four Aussies participate in group gifts.

(Financial Planning Association of Australia)

Recently, Australians have started giving out presents in a group, with 73% of FPA’s respondents saying they collaborate when giving gifts to family members, friends, or colleagues. However, everyone seems to play a different role when making a group-gift decision. While a third said they simply prefer to give the cash and leave the planning to someone else, 14% take the initiative and buy the gift themselves.

U.S. vs Australian Spending Habits for Christmas

34. Gift givers in the United States expected to buy $852 USD worth of presents for Christmas 2020.

(Statista)

Recent U.S  Christmas spending statistics show that Americans have just as generous spending habits as Australians. U.S. citizens were willing to spend around $850 on average during their Christmas gift shopping sprees in 2020—a slightly higher amount than the $846 spent the previous year.

35. 48% of Americans planned to buy gift cards for Christmas.

(Statista)

Similarly to Aussies, U.S. consumers also thought gift cards were the best gift choice for Christmas. The second most popular type of Christmas present among Americans was clothing (43%), followed by various games and toys (40%). 

Furthermore, Americans paid around $502 on family gifts, while $80 and $32 were spent for friends and working mates, respectively.

36. 38% of US consumers went in-store for gift inspiration in 2019.

(Statista)

In contrast to Australian gift givers, who recently get inspired via social networks, 38% of Americans said they go to brick-and-mortar stores when deciding on a gift. Around the same number of respondents (36%) also said they visit various retail websites to check out the products and compare prices.

Let’s Wrap It All Up!

Christmas in Australia is indeed a joyous time, and Aussies don’t hold back when it comes to gift giving. Given the pandemic consequences, which affected all of our wallets, the cost of Christmas wasn’t easy to cover in 2020. Nonetheless, last year’s holiday season still ended up being the biggest one yet. Presumably, shoppers managed to fatten their Christmas budgets since the various restrictions and lockdowns prevented them from enjoying life fully throughout 2020.

Online shopping trends are also more popular than ever—as a result of the increased awareness and precautions undertaken by consumers during the year of Covid-19. With the help of the internet and the country’s postal services, Australians still managed to have a very merry Christmas in 2020. This modern internet shopping movement is expected to endure well in the future, as the pandemic showed us that we can easily and conveniently shop online for anything while keeping ourselves safe and healthy.

Before we sleigh away, we sure hope our Christmas spending statistics got you in the mood to surprise your friends or family with a well-thought-of gift. At the end of the day, spending the most wonderful time of the year with your loved ones is the best present to give and receive.

Sources:

  1. Australian Bureau of Statistics
  2. Australia Post
  3. Australia Post
  4. CommBank
  5. CPM Australia
  6. eBay
  7. Facebook for Business
  8. Financial Planning Association of Australia
  9. National Retail Association
  10. Pitney Bowes
  11. Reserve Bank of Australia
  12. Roy Morgan
  13. Statista
  14. Statista
  15. Statista
  16. Statista
  17. Statista
  18. Statista

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