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Gifts that Give: Research into Australian gift-giving

The latest research conducted by The Curious Co reveals that Australians spend A$19.8 billion buying gifts each year and are joyfully generous: 85% of people get more joy giving gifts to others than receiving gifts themselves.

The research, conducted for The Financial Planning Association of Australia in the lead-up to Financial Planning Week (19 August to 25 August, 2019), shows that Australian adults spend an average of $100 each month or $1,200 per year on gifts.

The average Australian spends the following on gifts for loved ones each year:

● $437 for our spouse or partner,

● $361 for our own child,

● $201 per parent, and

● $115 for our pet.

The research shows a consistently strong preference for cash or gift cards rather than tangible gifts. Other gift-giving trends identified include re-gifting being surprisingly common, as is bulk buying gifts in advance, and group-gifting, where people assume different roles but go in together on a larger gift. Here are some of the top trends in gift-giving identified in the research:

Top 5 gift-giving trends in Australia

1. Cash and gift cards are Australia’s new go-to gifts.

Most Australians prefer the convenience and usefulness of receiving cash over tangible gifts. Baby Boomers most prefer giving cash: 53% prefer to give cash for weddings, 41% prefer to give cash at Christmas, and 38% prefer to give cash for an adult birthday. The trend toward cash is consistent across all genders, generations and geographies.

2. Re-use, re-cycle, re-give: Re-gifting is growing.

Two in five Australians (41%) have re-gifted a gift to another person or for another occasion, with females more likely to re-gift (48% have done so, compared to 35% of males). It is a smart strategy to reduce waste and lengthen an item’s lifespan.

3. Group-giving is on the rise.

Nearly three quarters (73%) of Australians participate in group gift-giving. It is particularly popular among the younger generations. Four in five Gen Zs and Gen Ys (80%; 81% respectively) participate in group giving, compared to only three in five Baby Boomers (62%). The report reveals the different roles people play in group-gifting, including ‘Give money’ (33%); ‘Share ideas’ (24%; ‘Wrap the gift’ (15%); ‘Buy the gift’ (14%) and ‘Write the card’ (14%).

4. Bulk buying is common, particularly among families.

Almost one in three Australians bulk-buy gifts in advance as a way to save time and money. Females are more likely to do so than males (31% cf. 24%). Bulk buying is hugely population among families (44% of families with children aged 0-12 batch buy, as do 40% of those with children aged 13-18).

5. We love getting the gift of quality time for our own birthdays.

Three in five of us (61%) would prefer others to celebrate our birthdays by spending quality time with us. Next is sharing an experience (39%). Receiving cash (30%) or a tangible gift (30%) is further down the list.

About the Curious Co

The Curious Co is a strategic social trends consultancy led by social researcher, Eliane Miles.

We love bringing expertise and wisdom to organisations who want to be at the forefront of change and innovation. The Gifts that Give research is just one example of how we do that!

Our advisory, insight, and storytelling services challenge perspectives so that expansion is possible. We build organisational confidence which leads to good decision-making, great results, and ultimately, growth. Discover more about The Curious Co at

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