Only one in five (20%) of Australian consumers plan on spending over $500 on gifts this Christmas, in comparison to almost 30% in 2019, new research findings from Pureprofile has revealed.

After polling a nationally representative sample of Pureprofile panel members, the research revealed insights into how the hardships and uncertainties of the COVID-19 pandemic are set to change the way Australians celebrate Christmas.

There is also a drop in spending cash to pay for gifts, with half (50%) planning on paying via debit cards. This is in line with the research indicating that more people don’t want gifts this year, with 10% of Australians saying that they won’t buy any gifts this festive season, up from 6% in 2019. Close to half (40%) indicated that they hoped to receive gift cards, while 48% said they wanted to receive money.

Most Australians (82%) are planning on spending time locally this festive season, by exploring their own state (pre COVID-19, this was at 24%). Additionally, 39% are planning on doing more shopping with local companies.

If there was no COVID-19 virus present and international travel was an option, 16% of Australians would choose to travel overseas (up from 11% in 2019). Additionally, interstate travel has decreased with just 10% of respondents indicating that they have interstate travel plans in 2020, compared to 17% in 2019.

Pureprofile CEO, Martin Filz said the figures are telling of a population struggling with the new normal caused by COVID-19 this Christmas.

“We’re watching our wallets and only spending money that we are absolutely certain we have. It’s still unclear what COVID-19 will bring in the new year; whether that’s more waves of the disease or the vaccine we’re all hopeful for. It’s clear from this research that the uncertainty is having a big impact on consumer behaviour and spending habits.”