CommBank research has revealed that Aussies will splurge $11B on Christmas gifts this year and 6 million Aussies and Saturday 16 December is tipped to be the busiest shopping day over the festive season.
Alarmingly, nearly 7 million Aussies will not track their spending over Christmas. Men appear to be the weaker sex when it comes to setting a Christmas spending budget, with two-thirds expected to drop their cash during Christmas without a plan.
With Aussies expected to spend, on average, just under $600 each (up 25 per cent over the last five years), CommBank are urging Aussies to keep track of their spending during this busy period.
Question: What inspired the Christmas Spending Study 2017?
Clive Van Horen: The annual CommBank Christmas Spending Story gains insights into consumer spending behaviour, with an aim to encourage Australians to keep track of their spending and keep a budget front-of-mind during this busy period.
Question: What surprised you most about the results of the Christmas Spending Study 2017?
Clive Van Horen: Alarmingly 7 million Aussies, which is nearly 40 per cent of shoppers, will not track their spending over Christmas. Keeping track of spending is clearly not on the Christmas list for many Aussie shoppers.
The results also show that men appear to be the weaker sex when it comes to setting a Christmas budget, with two-thirds (66 per cent) expected to drop their cash during Christmas without a plan.
Question: Why are you alarmed that 7 million Aussies will not track their spending over Christmas?
Clive Van Horen: With 7 million Aussies not tracking their spending, consumers are predicted to overspend by $625 million. No one wants a nasty surprise in January when it can be easily avoided.
Question: Why is it crucial that Australians track their Christmas spending?
Clive Van Horen: Christmas isn't only an expensive time because of gift buying, it's also a time of year where we entertain and go out more, and spend a little extra on our homes. It's really important to set a budget and keep track of how much is being spent and where the money is going.
If shoppers are using credit cards, the CommBank app offers some really easy ways to track spending by category, adjust daily spend limits, get reminders when payments are due and lock against some types of spending to make sure the cards are secure.
Question: Is our spending up on other years, this year?
Clive Van Horen: Overall, Christmas spending is up 25 per cent over the last five years. It appears some of us are more generous than others, with SA/NT spending the most on shopping overall at $671 on average, and Queenslanders spending the least at $508 on average.
Question: Who is splurging the most, at Christmas?
Clive Van Horen: Baby Boomers and Gen X are expected to splurge the most this year on Christmas gifts. Gen Y will spend around $557, which is up 14 per cent on last year's spending.
Question: And, who leaves their shopping until the last minute?
Clive Van Horen: Women seem to be more organised than men. 23 per cent of men will leave shopping to the last minute, with many buying their gifts on 23 December, cutting it very fine to the big day.
Question: How much, on average, do we spend on certain people in our lives?
Clive Van Horen: When buying gifts, Aussies typically spend three times more for a family member averaging at $136 than on a friend ($44) or work mate ($16).
Question: Do we spend more if we leave our Christmas shopping till the last moment?
Clive Van Horen: If you're leaving shopping to the last minute, you're most likely not to have a plan or budget in place, which can often lead to overspending. If this is you this year, it might help to keep track of your spending via our CommBank app to ensure you aren't splashing all your cash.
Interview by Brooke Hunter