MEDIA RELEASE: October 26 2021: According to new research conducted by global data and insights company, Pureprofile Limited (ASX: PPL), Australians are putting gift cards, technology and home-based hobby equipment at the very top of their Christmas wishlists this year.
After polling a nationally representative sample of over 1000 panel members, Pureprofile’s 2021 Christmas report revealed that Australians want convenient, time-consuming and entertaining gifts and are optimistic that COVID-19 and lengthy state lockdowns will not affect their gifting budgets this year.
With digital connectedness becoming more important during the COVID-19 era, technology was the only gift category to exceed pre-pandemic levels, with 23% looking forward to a tech-based present this year (up from 19% in 2020). Most Australians also want a degree of choice when it comes to their Christmas presents, with 2 out of 5 hoping to receive a gift card this year. This marks a return to pre-pandemic levels of demand for gift cards (44% in 2019).
Gardening equipment (12%, up from 9% in 2020) and books (22%, up from 19% in 2020) have also seen increases in gift expectations as home-based hobbies continue to grow in popularity. However, interest in beauty products has plummeted. Demand for makeup, fragrances and skincare has steadily stepped down from 27% in 2019, and 23% in 2020 to 19% in 2021 as working from home becomes increasingly prevalent amongst the Australian workforce and events remain virtual.
Consumer behaviour appears to be aligning with society’s progression to a cashless ecosystem: buy now, pay later services like Afterpay are on the rise and the percentage of Australians hoping to receive cash as a gift has decreased from 44% in 2019 and 38% in 2020 to 35% this year.
Budgets and planning
The country appears determined not to let the year’s struggles dampen their celebrations with 64% of Australians reporting that their gift budgets will be unaffected by COVID-19 this year. Only 26% plan to spend less on gifts this year – a significant recovery from the economic pessimism of Christmas 2020 when only 54% reported that their gifting budgets would not be affected.
Pureprofile’s CEO, Martin Filz, said: “Despite the nation slowly emerging from extended lockdowns, Australians are still turning to Christmas purchases that will occupy them at home. There has been a fundamental shift in how Australia now operates as a society. Our homes are now truly our base; it’s where we work, where we spend our free time with family, where we shop and where we have had to celebrate milestones like Christmas. Undoubtedly some of our lockdown habits are going to stick with us for some time.
“It is, however, very encouraging to see some healthy Christmas budgets this year. It might be a herald of the further economic recovery to come in 2022. Regardless, as international borders open next year, Australia’s adjustment back into a pre-pandemic lifestyle will be compelling to watch.”
Almost half (46%) of Australians will be purchasing their gifts online this year and most (69%) will be doing so well in advance of December in anticipation of delivery delays during the period. This is likely to translate into sustained strain on the postal service in the coming months.
The continued closure of international borders will also see 53% of Australians expecting to celebrate Christmas via video call with friends and family overseas. Consequently, this will impact overseas gifting and deliveries: 58% of Australians plan to shop online to be delivered directly to the recipient and about a third expect to purchase from an overseas provider.
Additional areas covered in the research include Australian beliefs on religion and spirituality, anticipated spending on food and drink and the emotions felt by Australians towards the festive season.