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Countdown to Christmas - Australians set to spend over $11 billion on gifts

**This ARA-Roy Morgan Snap SMS survey was conducted with an Australian-wide cross-section of 3,162 Australians aged 18+ on Wednesday September 1 - Thursday September 2, 2021 including 2,362 who plan on buying gifts for Christmas**
Australians are set to spend over $11 billion on Christmas presents this year, with a significant proportion to come from online sales, as toys, jigsaw puzzles and boardgames top the list of most popular gifts according to research from the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) in conjunction with Roy Morgan. 

Gift buyers are expected to spend an average of $726 each, with 35-49 years old’s the most generous age group. In good news for retailers, most Australians (79%) say they’ll spend the same or more than they did last year. 

Australians are turning to the internet in a big way - an average of 48% of Christmas presents are likely to be purchased online, with 58% of people saying they’ll purchase more or significantly more items online than they did last year.

The most popular gifts are toys, jigsaw puzzles and boardgames, mentioned by 20% of Australians who know what presents they’re going to buy, followed by vouchers and gift cards (18%) and clothing, shoes and sleepwear (16%). However, nearly half of Australians (45%) say they are yet to make up their mind about what gifts they’ll purchase.

Consumers in NSW are the most generous and forecast to spend an average of $902 on their Christmas gifts, followed by Tasmanians at $813, Queenslanders $705, Victorians $652, South Australians $645 and West Australians $472.

Roy Morgan CEO Michele Levine says that despite the current lockdowns of over half of the Australian population, consumers are looking forward optimistically to a bumper Christmas retailing season.

This special ARA-Roy Morgan Snap SMS survey of over 3,000 Australians shows there is considerable optimism in the community looking forward to a Christmas retailing season that is set to see a record amount spent online,” Ms Levine said. 

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has announced Greater Sydney will start to open up in mid-October as vaccination targets are met and the hope is that there will be a similar opening up in Victoria soon after – just in time for the Christmas retailing season which traditionally fires up in early November.

In the first week of September, Australians are planning on spending over $11 billion on gifts for family, friends and colleagues for Christmas this year and with a lack of spending options during lockdown, the chances are this figure will be exceeded as we open up in the months ahead.

ARA CEO Paul Zahra said Christmas is a critical trading period, when most discretionary retailers make up to two-thirds of their profits for the year.

The past few months have been a uniquely challenging time for most retailers, in particular small businesses navigating extended state-imposed lockdowns and restrictions that have limited their ability to trade. Despite this uncertainty, the good news is that consumer sentiment is upbeat for Christmas and retailers can look forward to healthy trading conditions over the busy festive season,” Mr Zahra said.

“Greater freedoms in locked down parts of the country are on the horizon and retailers can’t wait to have people back in their shops in the lead up to Christmas.

“Not surprisingly, a significant amount of Christmas shopping is set to be done online this year which is an accelerating trend as a result of the pandemic. Consumers should be mindful of the strain our supply chains are under and make sure they get their online orders in on time to avoid disappointment. We might be in September, but we’re already seeing Christmas levels of demand with current online purchases.

With less than 15 weeks to go, the countdown is now on to the busiest time of year on the retail calendar, and with over $11 billion set to be spent on gifts this year, retailers look set to share in the Christmas spoils.

**This ARA-Roy Morgan Snap SMS survey was conducted with an Australian-wide cross-section of 3,162 Australians aged 18+ on Wednesday September 1 - Thursday September 2, 2021 including 2,362 who plan on buying gifts for Christmas**

Question 1

“Do you plan on buying Christmas gifts for family, friends or work colleagues this year?” By Gender & Age.

Australians
18+

Gender

Age

Men

Women

Under 35

35-49

50-64

65+

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Yes

77

73

80

81

83

75

65

No

23

27

20

19

17

25

35

TOTAL

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

“Do you plan on buying Christmas gifts for family, friends or work colleagues this year?”  By State & Area.

City/Country

States

Australians
18+

Capital
Cities

Country
Areas

NSW

VIC

QLD

WA

SA

TAS

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Yes

77

78

75

73

76

81

78

77

80

No

23

22

25

27

24

19

22

23

20

TOTAL

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

100


Question 2 (Without Don’t Know)

“What Christmas gifts are you planning on buying this year?” Of those who mentioned a gift. Respondents were allowed to mention multiple gifts they are planning on giving.

By Gender & Age.

For those who already know what gift they plan to buy… (Top 3 Highlighted)


Australians
18+

Gender

Age

Men

Women

Under 35#

35-49

50-64

65+

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Toys/Jigsaws/Board games

20

20

19

24

22

16

16

Vouchers/Gift cards

18

15

21

19

16

19

21

Clothing/Shoes/Sleepwear

16

16

16

19

10

19

18

Alcohol/Food

12

13

11

8

15

12

10

Books/Music/DVDs

11

9

13

7

11

8

18

Tech items

10

9

10

12

14

7

5

Small inexpensive gifts/Novelties

9

8

11

14

8

8

9

Homewares/Kitchenware/Furniture

8

9

8

8

7

8

9

An experience (a trip away, a course)

5

4

5

6

7

4

2

Cosmetics/Toiletries/Grooming items

4

2

6

5

4

5

4

Locally sourced/Australian-made

4

3

4

9

3

2

4

Tools/BBQ/Hardware/Gardening

4

3

4

4

4

4

3

Jewellery/Watch

3

3

3

2

5

3

2

What they want or need

3

4

2

3

2

2

6

Money

3

3

3

*

2

2

8

Sporting gear/Equipment/Bike

3

3

2

1

4

2

2

Something online (unspecified)

2

1

3

3

3

2

2

It depends if we’re still in lockdown

2

1

3

*

3

2

2

Other/ Variety of Gifts

28

28

29

28

28

32

26

TOTAL

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

#Sample sizes with fewer than 100 respondents should be treated with caution.

Question 2 (Without Don’t Know)

“What Christmas gifts are you planning on buying this year?” Of those who mentioned a gift. Respondents were allowed to mention multiple gifts they are planning on giving.

By State & Area.

For those who already know what gift they plan to buy… (Top 3 Highlighted)


City/Country

States

Australians
18+

Capital
Cities

Country
Areas

NSW

VIC

QLD

WA#

SA#

TAS#

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Toys/Jigsaws/Board games

20

19

20

16

20

20

24

24

26

Vouchers/Gift cards

18

19

17

16

17

20

23

21

35

Clothing/Shoes/Sleepwear

16

16

16

19

11

17

12

16

21

Alcohol/Food

12

14

7

14

8

7

22

15

5

Books/Music/DVDs

11

12

9

11

15

6

9

12

16

Tech items

10

10

10

8

10

8

13

15

10

Small inexpensive gifts/Novelties

9

8

12

10

6

11

15

6

*

Homewares/Kitchenware/Furniture

8

7

9

6

11

8

11

5

5

An experience (a trip away, a course)

5

6

3

3

6

5

7

5

12

Cosmetics/Toiletries/Grooming items

4

5

4

3

7

3

5

8

*

Locally sourced/Australian-made

4

3

5

3

4

5

5

*

9

Tools/BBQ/Hardware/Gardening

4

4

3

4

5

4

*

2

5

Jewellery/Watch

3

4

2

1

2

6

8

2

*

What they want or need

3

2

4

1

2

5

7

1

3

Money

3

3

3

5

2

2

*

5

5

Sporting gear/Equipment/Bike

3

4

1

4

2

2

4

*

*

Something online (unspecified)

2

3

2

5

3

*

*

*

*

It depends if we’re still in lockdown

2

2

2

3

3

1

*

*

*

Other/Variety of Gifts

28

26

32

27

30

30

21

23

27

TOTAL

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

#Sample sizes with fewer than 100 respondents should be treated with caution.

Question 3

“Do you plan on spending more or less on Christmas gifts than last year?” By Gender & Age.

Australians
18+

Gender

Age

Men

Women

Under 35#

35-49

50-64

65+

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

More

9

11

7

12

9

9

7

Same

70

70

69

57

72

69

77

Less

21

19

24

31

19

22

16

TOTAL

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

#Sample sizes with fewer than 100 respondents should be treated with caution.

“Do you plan on spending more or less on Christmas gifts than last year?” By State & Area.

City/Country

States

Australians
18+

Capital
Cities

Country
Areas

NSW

VIC

QLD

WA#

SA#

TAS#

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

More

9

10

7

13

8

6

6

10

9

Same

70

70

69

68

67

78

65

66

83

Less

21

20

24

19

25

16

29

24

8

TOTAL

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

#Sample sizes with fewer than 100 respondents should be treated with caution.

Question 4

“Are you planning to start your Christmas shopping earlier, later, or about the same time as last year?” By Gender & Age.

Australians
18+

Gender

Age

Men

Women

Under 35#

35-49

50-64

65+

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Earlier

23

22

24

22

26

22

22

Same time

72

74

71

74

69

74

71

Later

5

4

5

4

5

4

7

TOTAL

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

#Sample sizes with fewer than 100 respondents should be treated with caution.

“Are you planning to start your Christmas shopping earlier, later, or about the same time as last year?” By State & Area.

City/Country

States

Australians
18+

Capital
Cities

Country
Areas

NSW

VIC

QLD

WA

SA

TAS#

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Earlier

23

25

20

25

27

17

22

23

14

Same time

72

71

74

69

67

80

73

76

84

Later

5

4

6

6

6

3

5

1

2

TOTAL

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

#Sample sizes with fewer than 100 respondents should be treated with caution.

Question 5

“What percentage of your Christmas shopping will be done online?” By Gender & Age.


Australians
18+

Gender

Age

Men

Women

Under 35

35-49

50-64

65+

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

0%

15

18

12

7

11

23

43

1% - 24%

16

14

18

17

13

21

16

25% - 49%

10

9

11

11

10

9

7

50% - 74%

24

31

19

23

28

24

18

75% - 99%

28

24

31

32

35

18

14

100%

7

4

9

10

3

5

2

TOTAL

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

Mean %

48%

44%

51%

54%

53%

39%

27%

#Sample sizes with fewer than 100 respondents should be treated with caution.

“What percentage of your Christmas shopping will be done online?” By State & Area.

City/Country

States

Australians
18+

Capital
Cities

Country
Areas

NSW

VIC

QLD#

WA#

SA#

TAS#

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

0%

15

14

15

9

11

21

24

19

13

1% - 24%

16

15

19

13

12

20

22

31

13

25% - 49%

10

11

10

4

10

20

7

6

19

50% - 74%

24

20

31

23

24

17

25

29

55

75% - 99%

28

31

22

38

38

21

13

14

-

100%

7

9

3

13

5

1

9

1

-

TOTAL

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

Mean %

48%

51%

43%

60%

55%

37%

37%

33%

37%

#Sample sizes with fewer than 100 respondents should be treated with caution.

Question 6

“How have your online shopping habits changed since last year?” By Gender & Age.

Australians
18+

Gender

Age

Men

Women

Under 35

35-49

50-64

65+

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Less purchases

5

5

4

5

7

2

5

Stayed the same

37

41

34

33

31

49

48

More purchases

44

44

44

48

47

35

33

Considerably more purchases

14

10

18

14

15

14

14

TOTAL

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

#Sample sizes with fewer than 100 respondents should be treated with caution.

“How have your online shopping habits changed since last year?” By State & Area.

City/Country

States

Australians
18+

Capital
Cities

Country
Areas

NSW

VIC

QLD#

WA#

SA#

TAS#

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Less purchases

5

3

7

3

5

5

2

9

6

Stayed the same

37

34

44

23

30

46

57

51

74

More purchases

44

47

38

52

50

43

23

33

20

Considerably more purchases

14

16

11

22

15

6

18

7

-

TOTAL

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

#Sample sizes with fewer than 100 respondents should be treated with caution.

Question 7

“How much do you plan on spending on Christmas gifts this year?” By Gender & Age.

Australians
18+

Gender

Age

Men

Women

Under 35#

35-49

50-64

65+#

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Less than $50

3

3

2

2

2

3

5

$50 - $99

6

4

7

11

4

5

4

$100 - $199

6

7

5

9

5

4

6

$200 - $299

12

13

11

14

10

12

13

$300 – $499

15

15

16

16

15

14

18

Under $500

42

42

41

52

36

38

46

$500 - $999

29

29

30

18

30

33

32

$1,000 or more

29

29

29

30

34

29

22

$500 or more

58

58

59

48

64

62

54

TOTAL

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

    Mean spending

$726

$744

$709

$655

$822

$681

$700

TOTAL SPENDING

$11.1BN

$5.35BN

$5.75BN

$3.1BN

$3.5BN

$2.35BN

$2.0BN

#Sample sizes with fewer than 100 respondents should be treated with caution.

“How much do you plan on spending on Christmas gifts this year?” By State & Area.

City/Country

States

Australians
18+

Capital
Cities

Country
Areas

NSW

VIC

QLD

WA#

SA#

TAS#

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Less than $50

3

2

5

2

3

4

4

5

-

$50 - $99

6

6

4

5

6

3

12

7

5

$100 - $199

6

5

7

5

5

8

5

8

11

$200 - $299

12

12

12

11

14

11

10

11

11

$300 - $499

15

17

12

13

18

15

23

10

7

Under $500

42

42

40

36

46

41

54

41

33

$500 - $999

29

28

32

27

25

34

30

31

28

$1,000 or more

29

30

28

37

29

25

16

28

38

$500 or more

58

58

60

64

54

59

46

59

66

TOTAL

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

Mean spending

$726

$697

$776

$902

$652

$705

$472

$645

$813

TOTAL SPENDING

$11.1BN

$7.05BN

$4.05BN

$4.1BN

$2.6BN

$2.3BN

$770MN

$660MN

$280MN

#Sample sizes with fewer than 100 respondents should be treated with caution.

About Roy Morgan

Roy Morgan is Australia’s largest independent Australian research company, with offices in each state, as well as in the U.S. and U.K. A full-service research organisation, Roy Morgan has over 75 years’ experience collecting objective, independent information on consumers.

About the Australian Retailers Association

The Australian Retailers Association (ARA) is Australia’s oldest, largest and most diverse retail body, representing a $360bn sector which employs one in ten Australians. As Australia’s leading retail representative group, the ARA informs, advocates, educates, protects and unifies around 7500 independent, national and international retail members with more than 100,000 retail shop fronts. To learn more about ARA’s exclusive benefits and more, visit www.retail.org.au.

Media Enquiries:
Dominic Cuschieri
0418 224 072
dominic.cuschieri@retail.org.au



About Roy Morgan

Roy Morgan is the largest independent Australian research company, with offices throughout Australia, as well as in Indonesia, the United States and the United Kingdom. A full service research organisation specialising in omnibus and syndicated data, Roy Morgan has over 70 years’ experience in collecting objective, independent information on consumers.

Margin of Error

The margin of error to be allowed for in any estimate depends mainly on the number of interviews on which it is based. Margin of error gives indications of the likely range within which estimates would be 95% likely to fall, expressed as the number of percentage points above or below the actual estimate. Allowance for design effects (such as stratification and weighting) should be made as appropriate.

Sample Size

Percentage Estimate

40%-60%

25% or 75%

10% or 90%

5% or 95%

1,000

±3.0

±2.7

±1.9

±1.3

5,000

±1.4

±1.2

±0.8

±0.6

7,500

±1.1

±1.0

±0.7

±0.5

10,000

±1.0

±0.9

±0.6

±0.4

20,000

±0.7

±0.6

±0.4

±0.3

50,000

±0.4

±0.4

±0.3

±0.2