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Commonwealth Bank media release


  • Aussies forecast to spend an extra $1079 each between 1 December 2014 and 6 January 2015.
  • Gifting and vacations to account for the bulk of additional consumer spending.
  • Six million Aussies expected to shop online on Monday 1 December 2014.
  • Bricks and mortar spending to peak on Saturday 13 December 2014, with 3.2 million consumers expected to hit the shops.
  • Shoppers in New South Wales and Western Australia expected to spend the most per person on Christmas gifts, with Victorians forecast to be the most frugal.

With Christmas Day a mere five weeks away, new research from CommBank forecasts festive spending to peak at $17.8 billion in the five weeks between 1 December 2014 and 6 January 2015.

According to the survey of 1000 Australians, while many consumers expected to have the bulk of their festive shopping done by today, the average Aussie is forecast to spend an additional $1079 over the coming weeks.

The majority of spending will go on gifting and festive vacations, accounting for $7.6 billion and $4.6 billion respectively. Other areas Aussies are expected to spend a large portion of their festive budget include the Boxing Day sales ($2.6 billion) and entertaining friends and family ($1.7 billion).

Online retailers can expect a busy start to December, with the research revealing six million Aussies plan to do their online gift shopping on 1 December 2014. However, the vast majority (72 per cent) of shoppers will purchase gifts at bricks and mortar stores, with festive spending expected to peak at shopping malls on Saturday 13 December 2014 when 3.2 million consumers are forecast to hit the shops.

Diana Mousina, Economist, Commonwealth Bank, says “While consumers have been sending mixed signals on their spending intent in recent weeks, our research shows consumers are planning to open their wallets and spend big in the lead up to, and directly after, Christmas Day.

“Interestingly, while consumers expected to have completed the bulk of their Christmas shopping by today, our research shows they are still planning to spend an additional $1079 and the bulk of that will go on gifts. Other areas we’re expecting consumers to spend include entertaining friends and family, and eating and drinking in and out of the home.”

Spending comparisons

Although nationwide consumers are expected to spend an average of $1079 each, there are some interesting differences in spending across the main states. Those in New South Wales are expected to spend the most, with an average spend per person of $1339, largely driven by higher than average spending on gifts, vacations and the Boxing Day sales. While those in Queensland will spend the least per person, with an average spend of $779. This is largely attributed to lower than average spending on vacations, entertaining friends and family, and eating and drinking out.

According to the research, spending will differ significantly across the country.

Spending comparisons by state

Other interesting insights include:

  • Those who are aged 18 to 24 are the most likely to be going away on vacation (40 per cent versus a national average of 29 per cent), while females will spend considerably more on vacations than men ($1058 versus $892).
  • Those aged 25 to 34 will spend most at the Boxing Day sales ($243 versus a national average of $156) and will also do more of their sales shopping online (39 per cent versus a national average of 28 per cent).
  • Couples are planning to spend more on entertaining friends and family than singles ($298 versus $108).
  • Consumers are expected to spend the most on gifts for children ($145) and partners ($125), while most people will spend more on themselves ($89) than their friends ($46) or work colleagues ($35).

Avoiding overspending

While more than half (57 per cent) of Aussies set themselves a budget for the festive season, nearly one in five (19 per cent) don’t stick to it. On average these consumers will overspend by $284, which nationwide means Aussies are overspending by $507 million.

Of the Aussies who do stick to their budget, the main ways they avoid overspending include:

  • using points from reward/loyalty programs to purchase gifts (28 per cent);
  • using comparison websites to find the best price (26 per cent);
  • cutting back on everyday items (23 per cent);
  • using group buying sites (17 per cent); and
  • pitching in as a group for big ticket items for friends and family (14 per cent).

With 77 per cent of Aussies hoping to avoid overspending this year, CommBank has compiled some tips to manage spending responsibly during the holiday season:

  • Plan your budget and make a list – plan your budget well in advance of starting your Christmas shopping. You can then work out how much money you have to spend between now and Christmas.
  • Make your budget all encompassing – while you may budget for things like gifts or holidays, it’s also important to factor in things like going out for dinner or entertaining with friends and family.
  • Look at what you’ve overspent on historically – one of the best ways to manage your spending this year is by looking at what you overspent on last year. With My Spend in NetBank you can categorise and graph your expenses into groups, so you can see exactly how you can avoid overspending this year.
  • Track your spending online or on your mobile – use your bank’s online banking portal or mobile app to track your spending as you go.



Notes to editors

National consumer expenditure breakdown (2013 versus 2014):

The following figures are based on the projected spending during Christmas 2013 (between 1 December 2013 and 6 January 2014) and Christmas 2014 (between 1 December 2014 and 6 January 2015).

National consumer expenditure breakdown (2013 versus 2014): Table

About the research (consumer):

  • The study was conducted amongst 1030 Australians aged 18 years and over.
  • Surveys were distributed throughout Australia including both capital and non-capital city areas.
  • Fieldwork commenced on Thursday 23 October 2014 and was completed on Monday 27 October 2014.
  • After interviewing, data was weighted to the latest population estimates sourced from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

For further information, contact:

Louisa Galligani
Commonwealth Bank
P: (02) 9118 1784