Tills about to start ringing as Kiwis prepare for Christmas spend-up

06 Dec 2019

  • New Zealanders plan to spend an average of $373 on gifts this season
  • Over 80% still to complete Christmas shopping
  • Men more generous than women when buying gifts for family

New Zealand’s retailers are preparing for a busy Christmas, as Kiwis gear up to spend $1.75 billion* on gifts this year.

According to the latest MYOB Business Monitor Consumer Snapshot survey of 1,000 people aged over 18, Kiwis will spend an average of $372.60 each on gifts, with nearly a fifth spending over $500 and just 5% spending less than $50. Gift giving is just part of almost $6 billion* New Zealanders will spend this Christmas, including food, entertainment and holidays.

MYOB country manager Ingrid Cronin-Knight says the Christmas trading period is key to success for many in the retail and hospitality sector, who will welcome the strong buying signals from local customers.

“Despite recent consumer confidence surveys on the lower side, it’s looking like business operators in the retail and hospitality sectors can still expect a fruitful holiday season, which also aligns with MYOB’s latest Business Monitor survey where 40% of SMEs expected to see revenue improve this year,” says Ms Cronin Knight.

Biggest spending in the regions

The Snapshot reveals the country’s biggest Christmas gift spenders are in the Waikato (average $416), Otago Southland (average $393) and the East Coast of the North Island (average $385). Sitting close to the national average are people in Auckland ($376) and Wellington ($372), while those in Christchurch will spend a lower average of $351.

Men more generous

On average Kiwis intend to spend just under $90 each on main gift items for the family. Just 8% have budgeted over $200 and 13% have a budget of under $25. Men, however, claim to be more generous with their spending, with an average budget of over $95, compared to just under $80 for women.

Most popular gift items

Almost half (48%) of New Zealanders surveyed say they intend to purchase chocolate as a gift this Christmas. Other gift favourites include food and drink items (47%), clothing and shoes (42%), gift vouchers (42%) and toys (38%). Subscriptions to services like gym memberships or digital streaming apps are the least popular present, with under 5% saying they intend to purchase one as a gift this year.

Christmas shopping saved for December

Only 17% of Kiwis have already completed their shopping, 5% of whom made their Christmas purchases before October. The majority of New Zealanders plan to do their shopping this month, and most (47%) will be finished by mid-December. However, 14% will brave the Christmas rush to shop in the week leading up to Christmas, including 18% of men and just 10% of women.

A third of respondents to the MYOB Consumer Snapshot said they intended to wait until after Christmas to make some purchases to take advantage of the Boxing Day and New Year sales; including 40% of those aged 25-39.

Ms Cronin-Knight says the Christmas season is always a welcome boost for the retail and hospitality sector, and often sets the tone for the economy in the coming year.

“However, it also creates a lot of pressure on staff and the general operation, so we’d encourage SMEs to take a good look at systems and processes to ensure everything can be done as smoothly as possible, and employers to check in regularly with staff to ensure they are coping with the Christmas rush.

“The focus on spending also puts a lot of pressure on families, particularly those on low and fixed incomes. That’s why it’s important to make – and stick to – a realistic budget for Christmas spending, and avoid taking on unnecessary debt to pay for expenses,” says Ms Cronin-Knight.


*Total spend derived from average spend multiplied by total NZ population aged over 18: 4,699,755 (Stats NZ 2018 population data)

For further comment or other information please contact:

Lenska Papich, MYOB NZ Corporate Affairs Manager
M: 021 410 496 / E: Lenska.Papich@myob.com

Gerard Blank, The Agency Communications Limited Director
P: 03 341 5841 / M: 0275 243 629 / E: gerard@theagencynz.co.nz

About MYOB

MYOB is a leading cloud-based business management solutions provider. It makes business life easier for approximately 1.2 million businesses across Australia and New Zealand by simplifying accounting, payroll, tax, practice management, CRM, websites, job costing, inventory and more. MYOB provides ongoing support via many client service channels including a network of over 40,000 accountants, bookkeepers and other consultants. It is committed to ongoing innovation, particularly in cloud computing solutions, and in 2015 was awarded the BRW award for the most innovative large company for 500+ employees and placed 2nd in BRW’s Most Innovative Companies Award list across all categories nationally.  For more information, visit myob.co.nz or follow @MYOB on Twitter.

About the MYOB Business Monitor Snapshot survey

The New Zealand MYOB Consumer Snapshot survey was conducted using Pure Profile’s consumer panel. In total, 1000 respondents were surveyed. The survey was conducted online from 28 November - 2 December 2019.