Digital promotion, shopping and payments are set to drive increased Christmas sales this year with Gen Z in the driver’s seat, according to new research from global branded payment provider, Blackhawk Network.

Despite the increasing cost of living, data collected from Blackhawk Network’s survey showed Australians were anticipating spending 16% more on gifts and 23% more on gift cards this holiday season compared to 2021. From a generational perspective, Gen Z and Millennials lead the way with an expected increase in spending on gifts of 38% and 19% respectively.

Blackhawk Network marketing director APAC, Marc Cheah said the data showed that after doing it particularly tough over the past couple of years through the Covid pandemic, younger Australians wanted to return to shopping and show the care and love they have for family and friends through greater gift giving.

“Our research suggests that younger Australians are looking to shed the hardships of the past couple of years and not only spend more on gifts, but buy for more family and friends with 23% of Gen Z and 26% of Millennials planning to buy gifts for more people this year,” Cheah said.

“Gift cards are a big part of that planned spend with Gen Z and Millennials planning to spend 11% and 24% more on gift cards compared to 2021, with about half of those (Gen Z: 52%, Millennials: 44%) bought through online platforms.

“The other big shift this year has been in how people pay for gifts with 46% of Gen Z and 35% of Millennials planning to pay with mobile wallets, a huge increase up from 24% in 2021. The message for retailers, marketers and brands is that is you want to reach the biggest market and drive increased revenue this holiday season, it pays to think digital; advertise online, promote on social media, and embrace omnichannel messaging and alternative payment methods,” he added.

Gift cards continue to grow in popularity with the research highlighting the convenience and flexibility benefits as the main reason people purchase gift cards with 91% of Australians surveyed saying that gift cards “give someone an opportunity to shop for their own perfect gift”.

Millennials plan on spending the most on gift cards this holiday season with an average spend of $314 followed by Gen X ($231) and Gen Z ($207). Younger Australians especially, welcome digital gift cards as a present with 78% of Gen Z and 77% of Millennials agreeing that a digital gift card is an appropriate gift.

Multi-brand gift cards, such as Blackhawk Network’s own recently launched Ultimate Gift Card for Everyone with 64 brands to choose from, topped the list for Gen Z shoppers with 66% of those surveyed saying they were likely to purchase one this holiday season.