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Aussies to spend $64 billion: Why it’s actually a positive sign

A composite image of Australian shoppers on an escalator and Australian currency to represent cost of living.
The cost of living has surged and Aussies appear to be cutting back. (Source: Getty)

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you may have noticed a surge in sale deals over the past week as we roll into December and the festive season.

According to new research from Roy Morgan Aussies will spend a whopping $64 billion in the lead-up to Christmas this year - and all this at a time when the cost of living has soared and households are feeling the pinch.

But despite $64 billion being a massive number, when you break it down, it is actually reassuring.

The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) wants consumers to cut back on spending to ease inflation. Their basic messaging is: “Stop giving in to inflated prices, cut back on spending and then we can cut back on rate hikes”.

While this year’s spending might sound excessive, the Roy Morgan Christmas Gift Buying Survey found Aussies would spend around $700 on gifts - $26 less than last year.

The (albeit) small pullback in spending was backed up by new Shippit data, which found that, out of more than 800,000 transactions made through their platform on Black Friday, Aussies bought more items but only spent the same as last year.

In fact, last year the average purchase was $153.07, and this year it was just $153.13. So, what does this tell us?

Aussies are getting more savvy with their purchases and keeping an eye on their shopping budgets. This means they are buying more gifts without spending more money than last year.

What does this all mean? It means that this trend is a small but positive sign the RBA’s wishes are coming true - Aussies are taking advantage of the sales to save their money over what is arguably one of the most expensive times of the year.

NAB executive for small business Ana Marinkovic said this was a clear boost for businesses, while also a good indication people were being more purposeful with their spending.

“Over 40 per cent of Australians are now creating and following a budget, with people planning out their shopping more thoroughly while hunting down the best sales,” Marinkovic said.

“Each year, the deals get bigger and better, with many Australians waiting for the American-inspired Black Friday and Cyber Monday discounts before doing their gift shopping.”

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