The Financial Planning Association of Australia The Financial Planning Association of Australia

The Big Splurge: Aussies spend $20 billion on gifts

FPA urges Australia to #PlanWell to #GiveWell this Financial Planning Week 

Sydney, 19 August, 2019 

Australians spend A$19.8 billion buying gifts each year, according to new Financial Planning Association of Australia (FPA) Gifts that Give national research released today to mark Financial Planning Week (19-25 August).

The research shows Australians are joyfully generous: 85% of people get more joy giving gifts to others than receiving gifts themselves. Women are more generous towards their spouses or partners than men (spending $454/year compared to $419/year), but men are spending $22 more per month on gifts than women in general.

Australian adults spend an average of $100 each month or $1,200 per year on buying gifts, with the research revealing a consistently strong preference for cash or gift cards rather than tangible gifts. Other gift-giving trends identified in the FPA research 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.

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. 

Are we generous to a fault in Australia? 

Indicating Australia is generous to a fault, the research also reveals 73% of the almost $20 billion in household spend on gifts is unplanned, prompting the FPA to urge people to “Plan Well to Give Well” this Financial Planning Week.

“There’s literally billions of dollars of household spend that is simply not budgeted for by nearly three in four Australians (73%) across genders, generations and geographies. That’s an obvious opportunity to increase our nation’s financial literacy and awareness of the benefits of budgeting, financial planning, and giving in a way that brings joy without debt or regret,” says FPA CEO, Dante De Gori CFP®.

The FPA has also released its Goodness of Giving ebook today for consumers with a focus on Christmas gifts, weddings, and childrens’ birthdays, including stories on sustainable and conscientious gift-giving, and how to budget for gifts with advice from CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER® professionals. A Gift-Giver Personality quiz is also available on


Key gift-giving trends and facts in the FPA Gifts That Give national research report include:

  • 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.
  • Re-use, re-cycle, re-gift . 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.
  • Group-giving. 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%).
  • Bulk buying. 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%).
  • Gift Personalities: Four distinct Gift-Giver Personalities emerged from the research: Impulsive Giver, Heartfelt Giver, Practical Giver and Simple Giver. The FPA Gift-Giver Personality Quiz can be found on
  • Budget: Nearly three in four Australians (73%) do not have a budget allocation for gifts. Men are less likely to have a budget for gifts than women: only 24% of men have a gift-giving budget, compared to 31% of women.
  • Pets. Most Aussie pet owners spend an average of $115 each year on gifts for their pets. A quarter (26%) do so at least once a month or more. Twenty-somethings to 54 year olds dote most on their pets: Gen Ys who buy gifts for their pets spend about $121/year and Gen X spend $142/year on gifts for their pets
  • Long-term gifts: More than four in five Australians (81%) think about how long a gift will last when they choose a gift.
  • Christmas: Australians spend an average of $93 on a significant Christmas gift. Those with young families spend more, with an average of $117 on a significant Christmas gift.
  • Children’s Parties: Australians say they spend an average of $50 on a significant birthday present for a child other than their own, and $66 on a significant birthday gift for a teenager other than their own.
  • Weddings: On average we spend $137 on a wedding gift which is double what we spend on a significant adult birthday for a friend or family member. Two in five of us prefer to give cash or gift cards for a wedding present.

For full details from the FPA Gifts That Give report, visit

Research Methodology 

The FPA ‘Gifts That Give’ report is based on research from The Curious Co obtained through a national quantitative survey of 1,000 Australian adults. The research was conducted between 2 – 10 July 2019. The sample is nationally representative of the Australian population by gender, age and state. All financial figures are based on self-report. The generations in this report refer to the following age groupings:

Generation Z: 18-24 (born 1995-2009) Generation Y: 25-39 (born 1980-1994) Generation X: 40-54 (born 1965-1979) Baby Boomers: 55-73 (born 1946-1964)