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CHRISTMAS SPENDING ON THE RISE IN SOUTH AUSTRALIA

Monday, 1 December 2014

South Australian shoppers are planning a bigger spending spree this Christmas, according to latest consumer research by BankSA.

Released today, BankSA’s Christmas spending survey shows the estimated average spend this Christmas per person will be $1,420; up from $1,065 in 2013, and $957 in 2012.

The survey shows a definite lift in consumer spending intentions for 2014, with 16% of the 300 consumers surveyed saying they planned to spend more, compared with 13% who said they planned spending more this time last year.

The main drivers of the increase in spending intentions this year is the 18 to 34 year age group, who said they expect to spend $1,495, up from last year’s estimated spend of $952.

While there is a lift in consumer spending intentions this year, there are also a high proportion of consumers who say they plan to spend a little less, with 24% planning to spend less, up from 21% the year before.

BankSA Chief Executive Nick Reade said that overall the results line up with a general increase in consumer and business confidence levels, as revealed in the latest BankSA State Monitor.

“People are feeling a little more relaxed about their Christmas spending this year, probably in part due to the result of lower interest rates throughout the year and a drop in repayment pressures,” Mr Reade said.

“But as the survey shows, overall caution continues to prevail and those who say they are planning to spend less this Christmas say they are making a conscious decision to cut back their spending this year.

“Other consumers say their spending will be reduced due to cost of living pressures, or a change in personal or income circumstances.

“Results indicate spending caution will continue this Christmas, but to a lesser extent than recorded in 2013.”
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The main reasons consumers say they are showing ongoing spending restraint include: a conscious decision to spend less this year reported by 57%, general financial pressures affecting 51% of consumers; other rising cost of living pressures affecting 44% of consumers and 37% who say a change in personal circumstances will have an impact.

The BankSA research also found that when asked how much they estimated they would spend this Christmas, 31% said they would spend between $501 and $1,000; 30% said more than $1,000; 27% estimated between $301 and $500 and 12% said up to $300.

Results also show that consumers continue to remain cautious about credit card debt, with only 7% anticipating a higher spend and 46% expecting to spend less on their credit card this Christmas compared with 2013, when the results were 5% and 20% respectively.

When it comes to planned use of online shopping for Christmas 2014, 31% of consumers said they would probably shop online; 62% said they would not shop online and 7% were undecided.

Consumers reported the main attraction of online shopping was convenience and competitive prices.

Meanwhile, the main reasons for not shopping online are lack of internet access (38%) or concerns about security (25%).

Interestingly, 12% said they prefer to “see, touch, feel and try out” items before buying, up from 9% last year. But the increase is highest in the younger 18–34 year age bracket, where 58% say they won’t shop online because they prefer to see, touch and feel items. This is a significant increase from last year’s 32% in this consumer age bracket.

Mr Reade said he expected South Australians to continue their more confident but cautious outlook, and to take a careful approach to spending into the new year as they focus on saving more and paying off debt.

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