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Australia’s festive cutback: concerns about extra financial demands this Christmas mean curtailed spending

17 October, 2023 | 

Posted at 8:57 am 

by Pureprofile 

  • 38% of Australians are concerned about the extra demand on finances this December
  • 65% are looking to spend less this Christmas and gift budgets have decreased for the second year in a row
  • Gift cards are still king with 47% of Australians choosing to gift, and 44% wanting to receive them
  • 45% of Australians are expecting work to cut back on Christmas celebrations due to cost of living

SYDNEY, 17 October 2023: New research conducted by global data and insights company, Pureprofile Limited (ASX: PPL), reveals that another tight Christmas is on the books as rising prices continue to eat into Australians’ Christmas budget and fuel financial pressure concerns. 

Now in its fifth year, Pureprofile’s 2023 Christmas Report is a global report based on the insights of 4,500 panel members from Australia, New Zealand, the UK, the USA and Singapore.  It found that the majority of Australians (65%) were curtailing their festive season celebrations, with 42% expecting to buy fewer gifts and 60% avoiding travel to cut down on discretionary spending. Despite having to work within tighter budgets this year, over half (54%) of Australians are still feeling positive about the holidays.

This is in line with most countries, with 65% of those in New Zealand, 57% of those in the UK, and a significant 73% of Singaporeans reporting that they expect cost of living concerns to hold back their Christmas spending this year. The outlier is America, with 53% stating that the increased cost of living will not impact their spending. 

Preparations for Christmas Day

Food will be a focus this festive season as 43% of Aussies choose to spend less on food and drinks; this is up from 37% in 2022 and 28% in 2021. While the average food and drink budget ($306) is level with the previous two years ($310 in 2021 and $302 in 2022), 1 in 4 are also looking to find cheaper alternatives as Australians continue to battle rising grocery prices. In fact, 20% reported that their ultimate holiday wish would be the gift of cheaper groceries this year. 

After a surge of enthusiasm for early Christmas shopping in 2022, only 67% will shop for presents in November or earlier. This is down from 72% in 2022 and 69% in 2021. Globally, most people intend to shop between November and early December, but a significant proportion of Americans plan to leave their shopping until the week before Christmas.

Pureprofile’s CEO, Martin Filz, said, “This marks our fourth consecutive Christmas season characterised by tighter budgets and reduced spending. While this is not surprising, it is interesting to note where Australians are making the most cuts – discretionary spending on travel and gifts are often the first to be reduced in challenging times. However, we’re also now looking to the likes of essentials like food and drink to recoup some celebration costs. We’re seeing a thriftier Australia that’s placing an emphasis on thoughtful and intentional spending; where the holiday spirit is retained, but celebrations take on a simpler, more meaningful tone.”

“As needs and priorities continue to evolve this festive season and in the future, it’s imperative that businesses, policymakers, and government agencies remain deeply attuned to consumer sentiments and trends. The data from our Christmas Report underscores the dynamic nature of consumer behaviour and stresses the importance of agility and adaptability. By staying in tune with consumers and leveraging insights to shape strategies, we can better support during these changing times.”

Gifts underneath the tree

Similar to last year, Aussies are more intentional about making their money count, spending on those that matter most by buying fewer gifts (42%) or choosing only to buy gifts for their children (22%). Gift budgets have also decreased for the second year in a row, from $430 in 2021, $424 in 2022 to $388 in 2023. 

Gifting budgets have also seen a decline in New Zealand ($47 less) and the UK (£3 less). Meanwhile, America’s average gifting budget was $420, and Singapore’s was $223.

Gift preferences among Aussies, however, have remained relatively stable compared to previous years, with gift cards and money being the most sought-after gifts to give (47% and 24% respectively) and receive (44% and 36% respectively). Other desired gifts this year are clothes and shoes (28%) and food or drinks (27%). Those in New Zealand and Singapore also reported to prefer gift cards and money, while the UK and the USA wanted clothes and shoes. 

Out of the five countries, America was found to have the strongest gifting culture, whereas Australia was the weakest. 

‘I’ll be at home for Christmas’

Globally, around half of the population intends to travel for Christmas 2023. Only a small group ( less than 10%) will travel internationally in most nations, except Singapore where almost a quarter of people intend to travel abroad. 

However, Australian social media feeds will be notably empty of jet-setting scenes this December. The majority of Aussies (60%) will stay local for the holidays, and only one in three will travel locally or interstate. 

Most (56%) Aussies also report that they will spend Christmas Day enjoying a meal with their family at home, while a few will spend a hot day at the beach (11%), opt for a wilderness cabin in the snow (11%) or head out for a fancy dinner (10%). Surprisingly, 12% would want to spend time alone. 

Outside of personal celebrations, the report also revealed that 45% of Australians are expecting their workplace to trim expenses for this year’s Christmas party, with almost a quarter (24%) expecting no party at all. 

Additional areas covered in Pureprofile’s 2023 Christmas Report include attitudes on annual leave during the holidays, beliefs on religion and spirituality, and sentiments towards Christmas.


About Pureprofile

Pureprofile’s vision is to deliver more value from the world’s information.

We are a global data and insights organisation providing industry-leading online research solutions to agencies, marketers, researchers and brands & businesses.

Our research delivers rich insights into real human behaviour and provides the “Why” behind the “What” through our unique ResTech and SaaS solutions. We build in-depth profiles of consumers via our proprietary and partner panels and give businesses the ability to understand, target, and ultimately engage with their audiences.

The Company, founded in 2000 and based in Surry Hills, Australia, now operates in North America, Europe and APAC and has delivered solutions for over 750 clients.

Media contact:

Beroze Dubash for Pureprofile
M: +61 403 402 228

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