Gift cards winning over Xmas consumers

Gift cards are getting increasingly popular as we prepare to hit the shops looking for Christmas gifts.

But clothes still top of the list of most popular purchases, according to a survey conducted by the Retail Council.

As part of the Retail Council’s Christmas Spending Index, consumers give insights into Christmas gift trends as well as when and how they plan to spend their Christmas budget.


“This year, we have seen some interesting changes in the gift purchasing intentions, with clothing leading, toys, food and wine featuring prominently, and electronic goods on the rise,” said Steve Wright, Retail Council Acting CEO.

The top 5 gifts people intend to buy this Christmas according to the Christmas Spending Index are:

1. Clothing (40 percent)
2. Gift cards (36 percent)
3. Toys (27 percent)
4. Food and wine (26 percent)
5. Electronics and entertainment equipment (26 percent, rising by around 10 percent from last year).

Participants were able to nominate in more than one category, meaning that totals exceed 100 percent.

And what are people hoping Santa will deliver to them?

“Consumers are also hoping to receive similar gifts to those they are buying for their loved ones – though gift cards have jumped to the top of the list this year, with around 50 percent of shoppers hoping to receive one. Australians have also put clothing, electronics and entertainment equipment, food and wine and books on their list of most-wanted items.”

When it comes to buying gifts, consumers are taking advantage of the various ways retailers reach out to their customers.

“When looking for presents, we see savvy consumers doing online ‘pre-search’ to research gift ideas and compare prices across stores, maximising their value for money,” said Mr Wright.

More than 60 percent of shoppers use online tools such as e-stores and Facebook to research potential gift ideas. Leading the trend are 18 to 35 year olds, with 75 percent of respondents using online or mobile tools prior to purchasing their Christmas gifts.

While online stores are increasingly important to retailers, it has not replaced the traditional in store experience for consumers.

“Despite the rise in online shopping, 70 percent of consumers have indicated that a great looking store filled with inspiration is an important part of their Christmas gift shopping experience. This reinforces the visual and tactile element in shopping, giving consumers tangible representations of value and quality products.”

Traditional marketing material, such as catalogues, print and television advertisements, also remain an important method of communication between retailers and their customers.