For the first time in the nine year history of the Christmas Spending Index, more Australians are looking to their debit and EFTPOS cards instead of their credit cards to pay for their Christmas gift shopping. Cash payments are also on the decline, with only 20 percent of shoppers relying on this traditional payment method for their Christmas spending.
As part of the annual Christmas Spending Index, the Retail Council looks at shoppers spending behaviours and preferences and payment methods for the Christmas period. The Retail Council is the the representative group for the nation's leading retailers.
"This year, 40 percent of Aussies will reach for their debit cards at the tills while doing their Christmas shopping, compared with 35 percent planning to use credit. In 2015, credit use was around 37 percent, and debit only 32 percent," said Steve Wright, Acting CEO of the Retail Council.
"We've noticed a big difference between men and women in their spending behaviours. Women are much more inclined to use debit than men, relying on funds in the bank accounts to pay for their Christmas gift purchases. Men, on the other hand, are using their credit cards more at a higher rate than their female shopping counterparts."
While making their Christmas purchases, value for money is the number one priority for shoppers this festive season.
"When consumers were asked on why they chose to shop at a particular retailer, over 70 percent indicated that price, sales and discounts were one of their top three considerations. Shoppers then identified quality of merchandise, range or selection of available products and convenience as their next priorities. This shows that consumers are hunting for bargains, but are not prepared to compromise on quality."
And where are shoppers going to make their Christmas purchases?
Over 80 percent of shoppers are doing a majority of their shopping in stores – with traditional bricks-and mortar shopping, department stores still remain the preferred location for making Christmas purchases.
"Department stores, such as Myer and David Jones, remain shoppers' first choice when buying most of their Christmas gifts, for the variety of products available under the one roof and the value for money with in store promotions.
"Consumers are also looking to general merchandise stores, and specialty stores, such as Rebel Sports, to find that special gift for their loved ones.
"While only 14 percent of shoppers will do a majority of their shopping online, 70 percent indicated they intend to use online stores for an element of their Christmas shopping," said Mr Wright.
The below table provides a breakdown by state across the 6 week period until Christmas (14 November to 24 December 2016).