43% of Kiwis tightening their belts this Christmas - poll

December 10, 2022

Many Kiwis are having to spend less this Christmas due to the pressures of the rising cost of living, according to the latest 1News Kantar public poll.

Around 43% of those surveyed said they'll spend less than they did last year, 42% said they'd spend the same, and only 10% said they planned on spending more.

The remaining 5% either didn't know, refused to say or don't celebrate Christmas.

When interviewed, several people said the cost of living was the main reason they weren't buying as many presents or having as big a Christmas dinner as they had previously.

"The poll numbers are consistent with what we're seeing out there in retail at the moment," said Retail NZ chief executive Greg Harford.

"It's a pretty tough environment for retailers. Customers are definitely looking, perhaps, to save a bit of money and spend less and they are trading down to buy cheaper products that do the same thing."

The numbers are also in line with a dip in spending on Black Friday this year.

Kiwibank economist Mary Jo Vergara says their numbers show consumer spending is holding up for now but a slow-down is on the horizon.

"It doesn't come as any surprise that households are feeling more reluctant about spending," she said.

"They're facing a tough environment of high interest rates, high cost of living and falling house prices so the appetite to spend is waning."

The poll also showed record levels of pessimism about the economy and Harford believes higher interest rates are to blame.

"If you have a mortgage, then you're either paying more to meet those mortgage payments than you were a year ago, or you're about to be when you roll off a fixed term rate," he said.

"At the same time, the value of your house is worth less than it was a year ago, potentially quite substantially in some cases, and that means that consumers are feeling a bit less wealthy."

Between November 26-30, 2022, 1011 people were polled by mobile phone (503) and online, using online panels (508). The maximum sampling error is approximately ±3.1%-points at the 95% confidence level. The data has been weighted to align with Stats NZ population counts for age, gender, region, education level and ethnic identification. The sample for mobile phones is selected by random dialling using probability sampling, and the online sample is collected using an online panel.


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