Research: Covid to curb festive season this year

In a year marked by economic downturn, the global pandemic and huge uncertainty, new research shows how Australians are planning a more restrained Christmas 2020

This festive season is set to be a Covid Christmas, marked by less spending, less socialising and less traveling internationally, although there’ll be an increased focus on exploring local attractions, according to new research. 

Pureprofile polled a nationally representative sample of panel members, revealing the hardships and uncertainties of the COVID-19 pandemic are set to change the way Australians celebrate Christmas. The majority of Australians (82 per cent, up from 24 per cent) are planning on spending time locally this festive season by exploring their own state. And the pandemic has also focussed people on putting their money into supporting local businesses, with 39 per cent planning on doing more shopping with locally. 

 "It’s clear COVID-19 has dramatically impacted the Christmas travel plans of the majority of Australians this year, with most set to stay close to home while supporting local suppliers and producers," Pureprofile CEO, Martin Filz, said.

Contrary to Federal Budget hopes, the research also found spending habits were set to change, with just 20 per cent planning on spending over $500 on gifts this year. In 2019, this was almost 30 per cent. There is also a drop in spending cash to pay for gifts, with half planning on paying via debit cards.

This is in line with the research indicating that more people don’t want gifts this year, with 10 per cent (up from 6 per cent) of Australians saying that they won't buy any gifts this festive season. Close to half (40 per cent) indicated that they hoped to receive gift cards, while 48 per cent said they wanted to receive money. 

Filz also noted that Australians are watching and only spending money they are certain they will have. It’s still unclear what COVID-19 will bring in the new year; whether that’s more waves of the disease or the vaccine we’re all hopeful for. Uncertainty is having a big impact on consumer behaviour and spending habits, he said.  

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