Kiwis on the financial front foot for Christmas

December 4, 2018 | Auckland | By Barkha Patel

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With less than a month to go until Christmas,Kiwis are feeling less financial stress about the upcoming holiday season thanks to forward financial planning that will see them less likely to rely on their November and December pay checks to fund Christmas shopping – despite planning to spend more on gifts.

Mastercard’s annual Christmas research[1], found that 38% of Kiwis are feeling less financially stressed about this Christmas than last year’s holiday. Over two thirds of people said they have been saving up or spreading purchases across the year to fund Christmas (70%), while a quarter of people are leaving it late and relying on their November and December pay checks (28%). 

A quarter of Kiwis are still feeling more stressed about money this holiday season (29%), despite these stress levels being down from the last two years (35% in 2017 and 31% in 2016).

“There is no doubt that with presents to buy and the upcoming summer holidays, the end of the year can put a strain on many Kiwis’ wallets,” says Ruth Riviere, Country Manager for Mastercard New Zealand and Pacific Islands.

“So it’s great to see an increasing trend of New Zealanders saving up throughout the year and planning ahead or setting a budget to reduce the stress of Christmas.”

When it comes to setting a budget, more than half of Kiwis (55%) are looking to spend the same as last year, around a quarter (27%) aim to spend less this Christmas, and 18% of respondents saying they are planning to spend more this year than last.

For those who are increasing their budgets, the main reasons are that they have more gifts to buy (43%), have more disposable income this year (29%) or plan to spend money on things other than gifts including food, travel and decorations (29%).

People tightening their belts over the Christmas period said they are doing so because they have less disposable income (44%), are setting a budget for a certain amount (28%) or are putting their money towards other things (25%).

Most people are buying presents for only the 1-5 people closest to them (46%), followed by 6-10 people (33%), while 7% have more than 16 people to buy gifts for.

Children are getting the most generous gifts under the tree, with one in five parents (19%) intending to spend more than $250 for each child on presents.

Men are slightly more likely to spend more on their partners than women, with 38% of men saying they’ll spend over $150 on their partner, compared to 31% of women. And people are more likely to splurge on gifts for their partners this year compared to the past two years, with 61% planning to spend $100 or more, compared to 56% last year and 52% in 2016.

Furry family members are also high on the priority list, with 71% of Kiwis looking to spend up to $50 on their pets, while 13% will be spoiling their pet with gifts worth more than $100.

In the spirit of giving, people are also feeling charitable, with 25% of those planning to give to charity donating more than $100.

Overall, the majority of consumers (51%) estimated they would spend under $500 on everything Christmas – including food, travel, presents and decorations – and 15% estimate they will spend over $1,000.

“At the end of the day, while spending does go up for a lot of people, the Christmas period should be a time to enjoy the holidays and relax rather than feeling financially stressed. It is great to see Kiwis are taking steps to budget and plan ahead, so that they can enjoy the festive season and the warmer weather as the year winds down," says Riviere.


About the research
Mastercard annual Christmas research has been commissioned for the past five years by Perceptive Research. This monthly Perceptive Omnibus surveyed 1,030 New Zealanders online using a nationwide sampling framework. The results are then weighted to Statistics New Zealand census gender, age and location data.

The survey and its accompanying reports do not represent Mastercard’s financial performance.

About Mastercard
(NYSE: MA),, is a technology company in the global payments industry.  We operate the world’s fastest payments processing network, connecting consumers, financial institutions, merchants, governments and businesses in more than 210 countries and territories.  Mastercard products and solutions make everyday commerce activities – such as shopping, traveling, running a business and managing finances – easier, more secure and more efficient for everyone.  Follow us on Twitter @MastercardNZ, join the discussion on the Beyond the Transaction Blog and subscribe for the latest news on the Engagement Bureau.

Mastercard media contact
Sean Ryan

Acumen Republic for Mastercard
+64 9 354 0583
+64 27 266 3297

[1] Mastercard commissioned Perceptive Omnibus research of 1,030 New Zealanders

Barkha Patel, Vice President, Communications, International Markets (IMK), Mastercard