Australia is a generous nation. We love to give gifts. It brings us joy.
When we spend, we go big: $19.8 billion AUD is spent on gifts by Australians each year, or an average of $100 each month ($1,200 per year).
That’s more than buying a $4 coffee every weekday, getting our shirts dry cleaned daily, or what we spend, on average, on mobile phone plans. Gen Y spend more on gifts than any other generation: $130 each month ($1,560 per year).
Here’s what the average Australian adult spends on gifts for loved ones each year:
Women are more generous towards their spouses or partners than men ($454/ year compared to $419/year), but men are spending $22 more per month on gifts than women in general.
Younger adults spend more than older adults (see table). Almost $20 billion spent on gifts each year
|Average gift spending per month||$91||$130||$87||$89|
Experts in psychology generally agree that the altruistic act of giving has neural and emotional benefits. These range from elevated activity in regions of the brain associated with pleasure, social connection, and trust, all the way through to lowering blood pressure and stress levels.
So it’s a good thing most of us find joy in giving. Most Australians (85%) say they get more joy giving gifts to others than in receiving gifts themselves.
Females find particular joy in giving (88% find greater joy in giving than receiving, compared to 83% of males).
Older Australians gain the greatest joy: 90% of Baby Boomers say they get more joy in giving than receiving, as do 84% of Gen X, 84% of Gen Y and 78% of Gen Z.
Those who do spend an average of $115/year on gifts for their pet. Pushing the average higher are Gen Ys who spend $121/year and Gen X who spend $142/year.
Disturbingly, a significant proportion of the $19.8 billion spent on gifts each year in Australia is not accounted for in household budgets. In fact, three in four of us (73%) do not have a budget allocation for gifts. Men are less likely than women to allocate a budget towards gift-giving (24% men cf. 31% women).
Those least likely to budget for gifts are older families, couples and older singles, of whom 79% don’t have a budget allocation for gifts.
Surprisingly, the vast majority of us are happy with the amount we spend on gifts. Just one in eight of us (13%) feel we spend too much on gifts, while most of us (81%) feel we spend about the right amount.
The discrepancy between a high unplanned household spend and a satisfaction with that spend indicates an opportunity to improve our financial literacy and awareness of the benefits of budgeting, planning, and giving in a way that brings joy without debt or regret.
If we don’t budget or plan for gifts, how do we decide how much to spend?
The top three decision-drivers that inform how much we choose to spend on a gift are:
The FPA “Gifts that Give” national survey of Australians reveals some truly fascinating insights into how we think, buy, plan and spend our money on those we love the most. Did you know Australia is a generous generation and spends nearly $20 billion a year on gifts? This 19-page report is a fascinating read and a great conversation starter with friends and families.
Download the Goodness of Giving eBook.
Download the full report - Gifts that Give.
Does the report findings raise some questions on your gift-giving budgeting?
1 Assuming drycleaning fee of $15 for five shirts, 52 weeks per year. Australians spend an average of $77/month on mobile phone plans, according to Canstar Blue research.
Aricle by FPA - Gifts that Give Research Report
General Disclaimer: This article contains information that is general in nature. It does not take into account the objectives, financial situation or needs of any particular person. You need to consider your financial situation and needs before making any decisions based on this information. Please seek personal financial advice prior to acting on this information.