Aussie spending for Christmas presents

Posted On December 11, 2006

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Feeling generous? Worried about the bills? It will not get any easier in the next 13 days: the average Australian is expected to spend $857 on Christmas gifts.

Figures from the December Sensis Consumer Report show NSW residents are above the national average for Christmas gift spending, expecting to buy an average of 11 presents and to spend $883 for them. Northern Territorians are the most generous, expecting a total Christmas gift bill of $988. The $857 national average was spent on 10 presents, or almost $86 a gift, up from last year’s average of $72.

The survey, which asked 1500 people to predict their Christmas spending, listed clothes, toys and DVDs as the top three presents NSW residents are most likely to buy, while holidays, clothing and books were the three gifts they most wished to receive.

A separate international survey by the insurance company AXA found working Australians had the fourth highest average Christmas gift budget, behind people in the US, Britain and Canada. Americans estimated they budgeted $US1171 ($1494) for Christmas presents this year.

But food is the biggest single expense of Christmas, says another report published yesterday. The Australian National Retailers Association’s survey of 1200 people showed they expected to spend 25 per cent of their Christmas budget on food.

The Association’s chief executive, Margy Osmond, said: “Many people are looking at family celebrations, having a few less things under the tree on Christmas day, but spending a little more on food.”

Lisa Grant is one of many giving food the priority. She is celebrating Christmas with 25 family members in Castlecrag. “I really don’t like to think about how much it is all going to cost, but I’d say $800 is a conservative estimate,” she said yesterday as she picked up her order at a butcher’s in Northbridge. “I’ve ordered pork shoulders, organic chickens, dozens of gourmet sausages and lamb cutlets. And I still have to buy the seafood. Christmas dinner is very important to us, so the cost really doesn’t matter.”