September 12, 2021

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

Topic: Press Release
Finding No: 8783
RMR Logo

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+
GenderAge
MenWomenUnder 3535-4950-6465+
%%%%%%%
Yes77738081837565
No23272019172535
TOTAL100100100100100100100

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

City/CountryStates
Australians
18+
Capital
Cities
Country
Areas
NSWVICQLDWASATAS
%%%%%%%%%
Yes777875737681787780
No232225272419222320
TOTAL100100100100100100100100100

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+
GenderAge
MenWomenUnder 35#35-4950-6465+
%%%%%%%
Toys/Jigsaws/Board games20201924221616
Vouchers/Gift cards18152119161921
Clothing/Shoes/Sleepwear16161619101918
Alcohol/Food1213118151210
Books/Music/DVDs11913711818
Tech items10910121475
Small inexpensive gifts/Novelties981114889
Homewares/Kitchenware/Furniture8988789
An experience (a trip away, a course)5456742
Cosmetics/Toiletries/Grooming items4265454
Locally sourced/Australian-made4349324
Tools/BBQ/Hardware/Gardening4344443
Jewellery/Watch3332532
What they want or need3423226
Money333*228
Sporting gear/Equipment/Bike3321422
Something online (unspecified)2133322
It depends if we’re still in lockdown213*322
Other/ Variety of Gifts28282928283226
TOTAL100100100100100100100

#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/CountryStates
Australians
18+
Capital
Cities
Country
Areas
NSWVICQLDWA#SA#TAS#
%%%%%%%%%
Toys/Jigsaws/Board games201920162020242426
Vouchers/Gift cards181917161720232135
Clothing/Shoes/Sleepwear161616191117121621
Alcohol/Food12147148722155
Books/Music/DVDs111291115691216
Tech items1010108108131510
Small inexpensive gifts/Novelties981210611156*
Homewares/Kitchenware/Furniture87961181155
An experience (a trip away, a course)5633657512
Cosmetics/Toiletries/Grooming items45437358*
Locally sourced/Australian-made4353455*9
Tools/BBQ/Hardware/Gardening443454*25
Jewellery/Watch34212682*
What they want or need324125713
Money333522*55
Sporting gear/Equipment/Bike3414224**
Something online (unspecified)23253****
It depends if we’re still in lockdown222331***
Other/Variety of Gifts282632273030212327
TOTAL100100100100100100100100100

#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+
GenderAge
MenWomenUnder 35#35-4950-6465+
%%%%%%%
More911712997
Same70706957726977
Less21192431192216
TOTAL100100100100100100100

#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/CountryStates
Australians
18+
Capital
Cities
Country
Areas
NSWVICQLDWA#SA#TAS#
%%%%%%%%%
More910713866109
Same707069686778656683
Less21202419251629248
TOTAL100100100100100100100100100

#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+
GenderAge
MenWomenUnder 35#35-4950-6465+
%%%%%%%
Earlier23222422262222
Same time72747174697471
Later5454547
TOTAL100100100100100100100

#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/CountryStates
Australians
18+
Capital
Cities
Country
Areas
NSWVICQLDWASATAS#
%%%%%%%%%
Earlier232520252717222314
Same time727174696780737684
Later546663512
TOTAL100100100100100100100100100

#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+
GenderAge
MenWomenUnder 3535-4950-6465+
%%%%%%%
0%1518127112343
1% - 24%16141817132116
25% - 49%10911111097
50% - 74%24311923282418
75% - 99%28243132351814
100%74910352
TOTAL100100100100100100100
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/CountryStates
Australians
18+
Capital
Cities
Country
Areas
NSWVICQLD#WA#SA#TAS#
%%%%%%%%%
0%15141591121241913
1% - 24%161519131220223113
25% - 49%101110410207619
50% - 74%242031232417252955
75% - 99%2831223838211314-
100%793135191-
TOTAL100100100100100100100100100
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+
GenderAge
MenWomenUnder 3535-4950-6465+
%%%%%%%
Less purchases5545725
Stayed the same37413433314948
More purchases44444448473533
Considerably more purchases14101814151414
TOTAL100100100100100100100

#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/CountryStates
Australians
18+
Capital
Cities
Country
Areas
NSWVICQLD#WA#SA#TAS#
%%%%%%%%%
Less purchases537355296
Stayed the same373444233046575174
More purchases444738525043233320
Considerably more purchases14161122156187-
TOTAL100100100100100100100100100

#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+
GenderAge
MenWomenUnder 35#35-4950-6465+#
%%%%%%%
Less than $503322235
$50 - $9964711454
$100 - $1996759546
$200 - $29912131114101213
$300 – $49915151616151418
Under $50042424152363846
$500 - $99929293018303332
$1,000 or more29292930342922
$500 or more58585948646254
TOTAL100100100100100100100
    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/CountryStates
Australians
18+
Capital
Cities
Country
Areas
NSWVICQLDWA#SA#TAS#
%%%%%%%%%
Less than $5032523445-
$50 - $996645631275
$100 - $1996575585811
$200 - $299121212111411101111
$300 - $49915171213181523107
Under $500424240364641544133
$500 - $999292832272534303128
$1,000 or more293028372925162838
$500 or more585860645459465966
TOTAL100100100100100100100100100
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

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

Related Findings

Back to top
Back To Top Arrow