Navigating Christmas on a Budget: Survey Reveals 55% of Australians NOT Cutting Back

Looking at Christmas 2023 – has inflation and interest rates influenced Australians’ spending?
Last updated on December 8th, 2023
  Written by 
Adrian Edlington
Adrian Edlington is PR & Communications Manager at Savvy. With a keen interest in personal finance, car loans, the mortgage industry, cost of living pressures, electric vehicles and renewable technology, Adrian's research includes conducting primary data surveys and analysis of up-to-the-minute secondary Australian data sources. His work on behalf of Savvy has been featured on ABC.net.au The Conversation, the Sydney Morning Herald, AFR, News.com.au, The Age, Herald Sun, Adelaide Now, SBS On The Money, 7News, Car Expert, Which Car, Drive.com.au and more. In his spare time, Adrian enjoys mountain biking and business podcasts.
Our authors



Fact checked

At Savvy, we are committed to providing accurate information. Our content undergoes a rigorous process of fact-checking before it is published. Learn more about our editorial policy.
Christmas Spending in Australia for 2023

At Savvy, our mission is to empower you to make informed financial choices. While we maintain stringent editorial standards, this article may include mentions of products offered by our partners. Here’s how we generate income.

As part of Savvy’s ongoing research into consumer sentiment and spending habits, we look at how Australians will be celebrating Christmas this year: if they’re spending big or tightening the belt, whether they’ll be taking a holiday, and which sales will attract their dollars.

  • 40% will spend the same as last year, with 15% saying they will spend more
  • 45% will spend $500 or less
  • 44% to buy gifts online, 45% already spent up during Black Friday sales
  • 29% to travel domestically with 17% taking a “staycation”
Christmas Spending in Australia for 2023

A representative survey conducted by Savvy (n=1,000) has shown that 55% of Australians will be spending the same or more than last year, despite economic hardships.

40% of respondents said they would be spending the same amount of money, despite inflationary pressures diminishing the purchasing power of their dollar. 15% said they will spend more than last year.

42% of men said they would be spending the same as last year, with women slightly behind at 38%.

What best describes your gift buying intentions this year? 

No Data Found

Source: Savvy Christmas Survey 2023, n=1000

As for dollar amounts, 45% of Australians say they will spend up to $500, with 31% saying they are planning to spend between $500 and $1,000. 21% will splurge by spending over $1,000.

This year, 53% of the 25–34-year-old cohort will be spending between $0-$500, followed by the over 65 demographics on 52%. Slightly more women (47%) than men (42%) also said they will be spending modestly this Christmas.

What best describes your gift buying intentions this year? (by gender)

TotalMaleFemaleOther
Total1000499497 4
I will spend the same amount on gifts as usual400 (40%)211 (42%)189 (38%)-
I will spend more on gifts than last year153 (15%)80 (16%)70 (14%)3 (75%)
I will spend less on gifts than last year389 (39%)174 (35%)215 (43%)-
I won't buy gifts at all58 (6%)34 (7%)23 (5%)1 (25%)

Source: Savvy Christmas Survey 2023, n=1000

What best describes your gift buying intentions this year? (by age group)

18 - 2425 - 3435 - 4445 - 5455 - 64 65+
Total120192171163150204
I will spend the same amount on gifts as usual51 (42%)73 (38%)70 (41%)66 (40%)51 (34%)89 (44%)
I will spend more on gifts than last year36 (30%) 45 (23%)25 (15%)18 (11%)20 (13%)9 (4%)
I will spend less on gifts than last year31 (26%) 66 (34%)70 (41%)70 (43%)68 (45%)84 (41%)
I won't buy gifts at all2 (2%) 8 (4%)6 (4%)9 (6%)11 (7%)22 (11%)

Source: Savvy Christmas Survey 2023, n=1000

As for how Australians will try to save on their gifts, 44% said they will be hunting for bargains online; 45% said they’ve taken to snapping up Black Friday sales; 44% said they would set an agreed gift spending limit.

Black Friday sales are popular among the young, with 58% of 18-24s and 57% of 25-34s partaking in the sales. Black Friday has eclipsed the traditional Boxing Day sale, with only 19% of Australians willing to wait for the 26th of December to nab bargains.

As for travel plans, 29% of respondents said they’d take a domestic getaway, with 17% saying they’d be local tourists with a “staycation” in their local area. 44% said they had no plans to travel.

How much are you planning to spend in total this Christmas?

No Data Found

Source: Savvy Christmas Survey 2023, n=1000

Savvy spokesperson Adrian Edlington says the majority of people spending the same or more on Christmas may show people are looking to have a good end to a year plagued by economic doubts.

“Christmas is a special time and people want to cut loose and have a pleasant holiday they can look forward to,” he says.

“People may have saved up specifically for Christmas, which is borne through these results as people are prepared to spend even more than last year, despite their hard-earned not going as far as it does today. If anything, it should give businesses a pause for relief, especially if they’re retailing online.”

How much are you planning to spend in total this Christmas?

(by gender)

TotalMaleFemaleOther
Total1000499497 4
$0 - $500450 (45%)216 (43%)233 (47%)1 (25%)
$501 - $1,000309 (31%)160 (32%)147 (30%)2 (50%)
$1001 - $1,50089 (9%)46 (9%)43 (9%)-
$1,501 - $2,00068 (7%)27 (5%)41 (8%)-
$2,001 - $3,000 29 (3%)19 (4%)10 (2%)-
$3,000+20 (2%)9 (2%)11 (2%)-
Nothing35 (4%)22 (4%)12 (2%)1 (25%)

Source: Savvy Christmas Survey 2023, n=1000

How much are you planning to spend in total this Christmas?

(by age group)

18 - 2425 - 3435 - 4445 - 5455 - 64 65+
Total120192171163150204
$0 - $50060 (50%)101 (53%)59 (35%)59 (36%)65 (43%)106 (52%)
$501 - $1,00044 (37%)51 (27%)64 (37%)47 (29%)49 (33%)54 (26%)
$1001 - $1,5007 (6%)11 (6%)19 (11%)25 (15%)12 (8%)15 (7%)
$1,501 - $2,0006 (5%)15 (8%)16 (9%)15 (9%)6 (4%)10 (5%)
$2,001 - $3,000 -4 (2%)6 (4%)7 (4%)9 (6%)3 (1%)
$3,001+1 (1%) 6 (3%)4 (2%)5 (3%)2 (1%)2 (1%)
Nothing2 (2%)4 (2%)3 (2%)5 (3%)7 (5%)14 (7%)

Source: Savvy Christmas Survey 2023, n=1000

Cost of living in Australia 2023

Media outlets have been talking about the cost-of-living crisis – that the cost of everyday living is going up due to high inflation and rising interest rates. We don’t need talking heads to tell us that our groceries cost more, buying the same amount of fuel as last year doesn’t take us as far, and rents and mortgages are eating increasingly bigger bites of our wages and salaries. So, what does that mean, and how and when will it end?

What measures are you taking to reduce spending this year?

(by gender)

TotalMaleFemaleOther
Total1000499497 4
Predominantly purchase online for a better price440 (44%)212 (42%)225 (45%)3 (75%)
Open a holiday season savings account66 (7%)27 (5%)38 (8%)1 (25%)
Black Friday Sales446 (45%)205 (41%)239 (48%)2 (50%)
Boxing Day / End of year sales189 (19%)110 (22%)79 (16%)-
Regifting58 (6%)23 (5%)35 (7%)-
Set an agreed gift spending limit445 (44%)220 (44%)224 (45%)1 (25%)
Make homemade gifts112 (11%)41 (8%)71 (14%)-
I'm not gifting at all 61 (6%)37 (7%)23 (5%)1 (25%)

Source: Savvy Christmas Survey 2023, n=1000

What measures are you taking to reduce spending this year?

(by age group)

18 - 2425 - 3435 - 4445 - 5455 - 64 65+
Total120192171163150204
Predominantly purchase online for a better price53 (44%)95 (49%)95 (56%)75 (46%)62 (41%)60 (29%)
Open a holiday season savings account9 (8%)9 (5%)12 (8%)16 (10%)4 (3%)15 (7%)
Black Friday Sales69 (58%)109 (57%)87 (51%)71 (44%)49 (33%)61 (30%)
Boxing Day / End of year sales37 (31%)55 (29%)27 (16%)25 (15%)19 (13%)26 (13%)
Regifting11 (9%)7 (4%)16 (9%)9 (6%)10 (7%)5 (2%)
Set an agreed gift spending limit43 (36%)74 (39%)65 (38%)71 (44%)75 (50%)117 (57%)
Make homemade gifts15 (12%)27 (14%)20 (12%)12 (7%)13 (9%)25 (12%)
I’m not gifting at all4 (3%)9 (5%)7 (4%)5 (3%)9 (6%)27 (13%)

Source: Savvy Christmas Survey 2023, n=1000

What is inflation?

The broader definition of inflation means there is a general rise in the prices of goods and services across the economy as a whole. If inflation is at 5%, that means a basket of goods priced at $100 a year ago will cost $105 today. Problems arise when wages and interest on deposits do not rise to meet that “gap.” A crisis occurs when people struggle to find that extra $5 to cover the cost of their goods.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics tracks this using what’s known as the Consumer Price Index – the changes of prices of staple goods such as bread, milk, fruits and vegetables, etc. Bundled up, this is what is known as generalised inflation or “headline” inflation rates.

What are your travel plans for the upcoming holiday season?

(by gender)

TotalMaleFemaleOther
Total1000499497 4
International vacation86 (9%)47 (9%)39 (8%)-
Domestic getaway276 (28%)134 (27%)142 (29%)-
Staycation at home298 (30%)154 (31%)142 (29%)2 (100%)
No plans for travel212 (21%)103 (20%)109 (22%)-

Source: Savvy Christmas Survey 2023, n=1000

What are your travel plans for the upcoming holiday season?

(by age group)

18 - 2425 - 3435 - 4445 - 5455 - 64 65+
Total120192171163150204
International vacation516953515072
Domestic getaway356254415179
Staycation at home235658624547
No plans for travel855615

Source: Savvy Christmas Survey 2023, n=1000

What is the current inflation rate?

The Reserve Bank of Australia shows headline inflation of 5.4% with an official cash rate of 4.35% at present. In December 2022, headline inflation was at 7.8% and the official cash rate stood at 2.35%. The year-ended growth in monthly Consumer Price Index indices was at 8.4% by December 2022.

The inflation rate vs wage price index

The wage price index shows what the current price of labour (or work) is in Australia. When wage prices stagnate and inflation rises, this causes trouble for people trying to make ends meet. Remember the $100 basket of goods? If the wage price index does not increase to meet inflation (or exceed it) then people will be forced to cut spending, find additional income from somewhere, or dip into savings.

As of September 2023, the year-on-year wage price increased by 4%; 4.1% in the private sector and 3.4% in the government sector. 46% of all jobs experienced a wage change, with 27.4% experiencing a wage increase of 4-6%. 23.2% of jobs experienced a wage increase of 2 to 3%. 3.3% of jobs saw a wage cut.

For those who have experienced a wage increase of over 5.4%, this may ease the cost of living as their wages catch up to inflation.

Savings and interest rates

Though rate rises usually signals pain on the hip-pocket for homeowners on variable mortgage rates, there is an upside for those who use high-interest savings accounts or term deposits. When the Reserve Bank increases their cash rates, it also increases the rates banks and credit unions pay on deposits.

However, keeping cash in deposits may not be the wisest option for growth or as a hedge against inflation, as any rate below headline inflation rates still means any deposit interest or income generated from these deposits will be behind what is needed to mitigate inflation.

The end of rate rises

Many of us are wondering when the threat of rate rises will ease. The Reserve Bank will likely stop raising rates – or even lower them – when inflation is at a manageable 2-3% – their official target for inflation in the economy. When news media say that inflation is easing to this level, you can feel confident that there will be a pause in rate rises.

If you're in need of funds at a competitive interest rate, consider a Savvy personal loan. Learn more here

Did you find this page helpful?

Yes
No
Thanks for your feedback!

This guide provides general information and does not consider your individual needs, finances or objectives. We do not make any recommendation or suggestion about which product is best for you based on your specific situation and we do not compare all companies in the market, or all products offered by all companies. It’s always important to consider whether professional financial, legal or taxation advice is appropriate for you before choosing or purchasing a financial product.

The content on our website is produced by experts in the field of finance and reviewed as part of our editorial guidelines. We endeavour to keep all information across our site updated with accurate information.

In this article

Share this article

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email
Share on pinterest

Smart money saving tips

Subscribe to our newsletter.

By subscribing you agree to our privacy policy

About Savvy

Savvy is one of Australia’s largest online financial brokers, focusing on personal and commercial financial products. Founded in 2010, the firm has seen rapid growth, a testament to their provision of market leading rates and reaching customers with the latest in media and technology. Savvy is a proud supporter of Kids Under Cover, a charity assisting homeless and at-risk youth to strengthen their bonds to community and education. Savvy was named one of BRW’s fastest growing companies in 2015.

Latest media releases