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The Money.com.au study on end-of-year household spending behaviours

November 2020

About the study

Money.com.au commissioned a survey of an independent panel of 1013 Australians. It sought to uncover household spending decisions and the expenses Australians intend to cut back on or forego this year, ahead of Christmas and summer holidays. The data also revealed how Australians will be budgeting for their December and January expenses and whether they will make any financial sacrifices to be able to afford them.

Will Aussies change their spending habits this holiday season, compared with previous years?

Forty-four (44) per cent of households will spend less on Christmas celebrations, food, gifts, and a summer getaway this year, compared with previous years. Across the states, a higher proportion of Victorians (50 per cent) will spend less on these expenses this year, followed by 44 of NSW residents and 43 per cent of Queenslanders. This is compared with 28 per cent of ACT residents.

Australians who are unemployed or not doing paid work will spend less this year, compared with previous years, with 59 per cent citing this. In contrast, 41 per cent of part-time or casual workers and 36 per cent of retirees said they will spend less.

Meanwhile, 46 per cent plan to spend the same amount this year on Christmas celebrations, food, gifts, and a summer getaway this year, and 10 per cent said they will spend more.

Will Aussies spend less on or forego Christmas and summer holiday expenses this year?

Seventy-eight (78) per cent of Aussie households will spend less or completely forego Christmas and summer holiday expenses this year. This accounts for an equal 80 per cent of Victorians and West Australians, followed by 77 per cent of NSW residents and 70 per cent of South Australians.

What proportion of Aussies will cut back on Christmas gifts?

Thirty-nine (39) per cent of people will spend less on Christmas gifts, while 12 per cent said they won’t buy gifts at all. Across the States, 45 per cent of NSW residents will spend less on Christmas gifts this year, along with 37 per cent of Victorians and 32 per cent of South Australians.

What proportion of Aussies will cut back on celebrations this year?

Twenty-eight (28) per cent of households will spend less on Christmas celebrations and Christmas lunches or dinners this year and 10 per cent won’t have a Christmas celebration at all. A higher proportion of Victorians will spend less on Christmas celebrations and Christmas lunches or dinner, at 33 per cent, followed by 28 per cent of ACT residents and 23 per cent of West Australians.

Is holiday spending off the cards for households this year?

Thirty-eight (38) per cent of households said they will forego a holiday this summer, while 20 per cent will reduce their holiday budget.

A higher proportion of younger Australians will spend less on a summer getaway, with 25 per cent of those aged 18-30 citing this. This is compared with 23 per cent of 31-50s and 15 per cent of over 50s who said the same.

Aussies who are unemployed or not doing paid work are more likely to forego a summer holiday this year, at 48 per cent, compared with 42 per cent of retirees and 34 per cent of those employed full-time.

How will Aussies be budgeting their December-January expenses?

Among the respondents who have been budgeting for their December-January expenses, 37 per cent have been setting aside funds this year to pay for them. Twenty-two (22) per cent said they will purchase expenses on credit and 10 per cent will use other credit payment options, such as buy now, pay later services or layby. Thirty-one (31) per cent of households overall will dip into their savings.

Who is most likely to dip into their savings to pay for December-January expenses? Retired Australians were more likely to dip into their savings, with 44 per cent citing this. This is compared with 35 per cent of those who are unemployed or not doing paid work, 30 per cent of part-time or casual workers, and 26 per cent of full-time workers who said the same.

Thirty-nine (39) per cent of over 50s said they will dip into their savings, compared with an equal 24 per cent of 31-50s and 18-30s.

What proportion of Aussies will be making financial sacrifices to afford their December-January expenses?

Thirty-one (31) per cent of Australian households will make financial sacrifices to be able to afford December-January expenses.

Across the States, 35 per cent of NSW residents, 32 per cent of Victorians, 30 per cent of Queenslanders, and 26 per cent of South Australians said they will make financial sacrifices. This is compared with 11 per cent of ACT residents.

A higher proportion of younger Australians will make financial sacrifices to be able to afford December-January expenses, with 38 per cent of under-30s citing this and 36 per cent of those aged 31-50. In contrast, 29 per cent of over 50s will make financial sacrifices to afford these expenses.

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