Christmas gift spending unaffected by COVID-19 for 62% of Aussies, Pureprofile finds

According to new research conducted by data and insights company, Pureprofile  62% of Australians are displaying resilience and expect that COVID-19 will not impact their spending on Christmas gifts, versus 54% in 2020.

However, 26% expect that COVID-19 will cause them to spend less on gifts (26%) than spend more (12%), but this discrepancy is significantly less than last year (39% and 7% respectively).

After polling a nationally representative sample of over 1,000 panel members, Pureprofile’s 2021 Christmas report revealed that Australians want convenient, time-consuming and entertaining gifts, and are optimistic that COVID-19 and lengthy state lockdowns will not affect their gifting budgets this year.

With digital connectedness becoming more important during the COVID-19 era, technology was the only gift category to exceed pre-pandemic levels, with 23% looking forward to a tech-based present this year (up from 19% in 2020).

Most Australians also want a degree of choice when it comes to their Christmas presents, with two out of five hoping to receive a gift card this year. This marks a return to pre-pandemic levels of demand for gift cards (44% in 2019).

The report cited, however, that cash continues to decline in popularity as payment for Christmas gifts, replaced by credit services, in particular buy-now-pay-later platforms such as Afterpay which will be used by 10% of Christmas shoppers.

The report also revealed that it continues to see fewer people using cash to pay for goods and services and this Christmas is no exception. Just over one-quarter (27%) of spending options are expected to be cash. This is a continued decline year-on-year (28% in 2020, and four points down from 31% in 2019).

In addition, the report showed that personal appearances may have slipped as work from home becomes the new normal. Australians hoping to be gifted skin care, cosmetics or fragrances saw the steepest declines (19%, down 4 points from 23% in 2020 and down 8 points, 27% in 2019). Clothes and shoes (up slightly at 29% from 27%) and jewellery (19% versus 18% in 2020) have not seen the same growth relative to pre- pandemic levels (39% and 29% respectively) compared to other categories of gift.

To compliment this research, the Australian Retailers Association (ARA), and strategic partner Roy Morgan are predicting this year’s pre-Christmas spending will broadly match last year’s high and be significantly above 2019 pre-pandemic spending.

ARA-Roy Morgan 2021 pre-Christmas Retail Sales (by state and territory) [click to enlarge]

Roy Morgan CEO, Michele Levine, believes this is good news for Australia: “Our sales forecasting reveals a country on the move; a consumer economy exhibiting all the signs of pent-up demand.

“No one believed that spending this coming Christmas could match the highs of last year, but as the population emerges from the most punishing crisis in a hundred years, shoppers are looking to reward themselves and their families.

“The sales aren’t all going to be instore, however. The COVID five-year digital acceleration means many more Australians are shopping online, so this Christmas we will see much more of a mix between in-store and online shopping,” Levine said.

ARA-Roy Morgan 2021 pre-Christmas Retail Sales (by category) [click to enlarge]


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