A consumer report has found Australian shoppers are planning to spend 30% less on gifts, food and social events this Christmas as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The research, performed by consumer insights firm Toluna, found Aussies are really feeling the pinch this year, with 44% of respondents admitting they are financially worse off in 2020 and 32% of people are planning to cut back on Christmas gift spending.
As Australia faces its worst economic recession since the Great Depression, a worryingly 23% of respondents said they are concerned about whether they can afford Christmas at all.
For those looking to spend less on Christmas gifts such as consumer electronics, exactly half of the participants cited the coronavirus pandemic as the reason for their financial insecurity.
Popular gift categories included fashion and clothing at 31%, cosmetics and beauty at 21% and gadgets such as smartphones and smartwatches at 18%.
Due to the economic fallout of the pandemic, it seems shoppers are also expecting bigger discounts and better deals on products in the lead-up to Christmas too.
According to the research, 38% expect to see more deals and discounts, with 23% expecting big discounts on electrical items.
“There’s no doubt Christmas 2020 is going to look very different than previous years. Shoppers are concerned about their personal finances, and as such, plan to spend less this Christmas. With price the key motivator, more shoppers will be looking for bargains and expect retailers to be offering great deals this year,” said Sej Patel, Toluna Country Director, Australia and New Zealand.
“Australians are savvy consumers and they’ve learned their lessons from the supermarket shortages earlier this year. They know there’s a real chance of stock running low, so they’re looking to get started on their Christmas shopping earlier and plan to do more of this shopping online.”
Patel added: “Retailers should take note of consumers’ willingness to get started on Christmas shopping now and know that they’re already looking for bargains. Additionally, retailers who offer flexible payment options, such as store credit, Afterpay and laybuy will likely have an advantage.”
“Of course, consumer sentiment changes greatly as the pandemic progresses, so it’s important for businesses to monitor evolving consumer perceptions and habits and adjust their services accordingly.”