’Tis the season to be savvy

New research from PayPal: From crowdfunding Christmas lunch to belated Boxing Day sales gifts… how Aussies will be navigating the (rising) costs of Christmas this year

  • 7-in-10 (68%) say they will shop Black Friday, Boxing Day and other sales moments to bag bargain Christmas gifts
  • Half of Aussies (49%) plan to wrap up Christmas shopping by end of November
  • 1-in-7 (14%) plan to split the cost of the Christmas meal with friends and family this year

With Christmas fast approaching, Australians are thinking about how we embrace the festive season without blowing the budget this year. New PayPal research released today reveals that Aussies are becoming savvier with their Christmas shopping strategies in a bid to relieve financial pressures.

Despite more than half (56%) feeling the pinch of cost-of-living pressures and one-in-five Aussies (21%) saying they find the festive season stressful, the majority of us (51%) are looking forward to Christmas this year – the first one in recent years not hampered by any COVID-related restrictions.

Navigating cost-of-living pressures this year

Heading into the festive season this year, the biggest cost-of-living concern for Australians is the high cost of groceries with almost two-thirds (63%) personally worried. This is followed by the cost of petrol (55%) and energy and other bills (52%) and rising rent or mortgage rates (34%).

This might be why 7-in-10 Australians (68%) say they will shop the end of year sales this year to bag some bargain gifts. November’s Black Friday (48%) is the most popular sales event followed by Cyber Monday (33%) and people are even planning to shop on Boxing Day (31%) for belated Christmas presents.

For those watching the hip pocket, shopping the sales events is the number one strategy for keeping their Christmas budgets in check this year. One-in-5 Australians (22%) are planning to buy more in the sales this year, filling their carts with cut-price gifts.

PayPal Shopping Expert Danielle Grant commented: “Black Friday sees retailers provide substantial discounts on a wide range of goods and services including electronics, clothes, homewares and beauty items. With Australians concerned about rising costs, we’re all looking to make our dollar go further and it makes sense to take full advantage of the sales moments in the lead up to Christmas.

“With half of Australians saying overcrowded stores are the worst thing about Christmas, it’s no wonder most Aussies will be heading online to bag a bargain during the sales events,” said Danielle Grant.

How we’re giving this year

When it comes to gift-giving, over half of us (57%) agree that gifts don’t have to cost a lot to be meaningful. And while many Aussies plan to spend the same amount on the festive season all-up this year (55%), over a third (35%) say they’ll be spending less this year on Christmas gifts, with around 60% of Aussies planning to spend under $500, and 1-in-6 (16%) less than $200 on gifts.

The adage of ‘presence over presents’ is also a theme this year, as two-thirds of us (65%) say the best thing about Christmas is connecting with family and more than half of us (58%) say it’s more important to spend time with people than to spend a lot of money. However, there’s always the possibility of ‘too much of a good thing’, with a quarter of Aussies (25%) saying the worst thing about Christmas is family drama at get-togethers which ruins the festive spirit.

Regarding paring back this year, while half of us don’t mind getting gifts without cards (50%), only a third of us (35%) are fine with unwrapped gifts – so maybe ditch the cards but keep the sticky tape and paper handy.

Money-saving shopping strategies Aussies are adopting this Christmas

Aussies are an organised bunch when it comes to planning for the festive season, and in challenging times people are using savvy strategies to help their Christmas dollar go further.

A quarter of us (25%) have gradually bought gifts throughout the year to help spread costs. Meanwhile, about half of us (49%) say we’ll have most of our Christmas shopping done before the end of November, with an impressive 14% (1-in-7) all wrapped up before the end of October. Only 6% are planning to wait until the last minute to purchase gifts (in the last week and days before Christmas).

In addition to shopping the sales, a third of Australians (34%), including close to half of Millennials (44%), aim to use coupons, cashback, points and loyalty vouchers to maximise their spending power – including deal-finding tools such as Honey. Helping to avoid post Christmas bill shock, more than a quarter of Aussies (27%) will be avoiding credit and only buying what they can afford, and 1-in-5 Australians (20%) say they’ll use Buy Now Pay Later to help spread the cost of their Christmas this year.

PayPal Shopping Expert Danielle Grant commented, “Gift-giving can be a way of showing appreciation, but you don’t necessarily need to spend big. Just over half of us (53%) believe you can still have a great Christmas if you spend wisely, make the most of sales and shop sensibly. And even more of us (57%) believe that gifts don’t have to cost a lot to be meaningful. As the age old saying goes, it’s the thought that counts!” said Danielle Grant.

Crowdfunding the Christmas feast

When it comes to slicing up the cost of Christmas dinner, we’re re-thinking our festive meals this year. About half of Aussies (47%) think that simple, less-expensive Christmas meals can be just as enjoyable as expensive Christmas spreads. Given the concerns around prices at the supermarket checkout, 3-in-10 Aussies (31%) will be choosing lower cost food items this year.

We’re also not averse to asking guests to pitch in by bringing food and drink (44% saying they’d do this) or chipping in to cover the cost of the meal (22%). In fact, 1-in-7 Aussies (14%) are planning to share or split the cost of the Christmas meal this year.

Top Tips for a Stress-Free, Budget-Friendly Xmas

  • Shopping the sales? Jump online and skip the queues. Online shopping is fast, convenient and makes it easier to do price comparisons. You also won’t have to fight to find a parking spot
  • Plan your shopping list in advance – create a wish list and wait for the sales events then get online early - Choose lower-cost food items and keep Christmas entertaining simple
  • Crowdfund your Christmas feast - ask guests to bring a dish like the salad or a desert or share/split the cost of the Christmas meal
  • Use coupons, cash back, points and loyalty vouchers, including deal-finding tools such as Honey
  • If you are shopping online this year, keep your financial details safe. Use a payment method, such as PayPal, that encrypts your information, protects your details, and offers a buyer protection policy on eligible purchases should something go wrong with your purchase.

About the research

This research was commissioned by PayPal Australia Pty Limited, based on an online study conducted by Pure Profile Research with n = 1000 consumers aged 18 – 75. The sample was weighted by age, gender, and location to ensure data was nationally representative. The research was in field from 26th October to 28th October 2022. 

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