Aussies buying fewer, more purposeful gifts this Christmas

A vast majority of Australians are looking to buy presents with purpose this Christmas, and will spend less overall than previous years according to research from PayPal. 

On average, Aussies are expected to purchase ten gifts for their loved ones worth a total of $494 – $100 less than last year – while 87 per cent believe their gifts will have more impact when it supports a cause.

This figure increases to 91 per cent for Australians under 35 – with almost half of Aussies (46 per cent) likely to support the rural fire services, businesses impacted by drought (44 per cent), and mental health services (42 per cent) when purchasing gifts this year, according to the research.

Likewise, 69 per cent of Aussies prefer to receive gifts that support a cause they care about.

“It’s clear that this holiday season, Aussies want to give better and support causes that are close to their hearts,” said PayPal Australia shopping expert Danielle Grant.

“And with our rural communities being hit so hard this year by both devastating drought and fire, it’s these causes that Aussies want to support the most this festive season.”

The Australian consumer also prefers Australian-made goods, with 73 per cent preferring to give, and 71 per cent preferring to receive, domestically made products. 

The Kris Kringle has also become a staple in one third of Australian families, facilitating fewer, more meaningful purchases by each family member. 

Additionally, decreased spending is another symptom of Australia’s changing economy, with Grant noting the country’s economic downturn has resulted in a more savvy shopper taking full advantage of discounts and offers during sales events.

This could lead to a lower headline sales figure for the retail industry over the Christmas period, as predicted by the Australian Retailers Association and Roy Morgan last month.

The ARA said it expects sales growth across the holiday period to be 2.6 per cent up on the prior year, compared to 2018’s 2.9 per cent growth.

According to the ARA, this was a result of a turbulent year in retail capped off with catastrophic bush fires impacting communities nationwide.

“We live in the best country on Earth, but that comes with some terrible drawbacks; one of those is summer disasters – fires, cyclones, floods – that sadly affect some parts of the country,” outgoing executive director of the ARA Russell Zimmerman said.

A poll run on Inside Retail on Monday seems to back up Zimmerman’s comments, with over half of respondents noting sales are on track to be lower than 2018.

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