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Auckland, New Zealand – December 1, 2016 – As the festive season approaches, new Mastercard research has revealed almost one third (31%) of New Zealanders feel more financially stressed this Christmas than in previous years.

The Mastercard commissioned consumer research on Christmas shopping habits found that while 58 per cent of people plan to spend about the same on Christmas, 29 per cent will choose to spend less this year to reduce their December costs.

People planning to spend less said the main reason for doing so was having less disposable income (56%) or that they have budgeted to spend a certain amount (34%).

“It’s great that many Kiwis are taking practical steps to reduce the impact the Christmas season has on their finances,” says Peter Chisnall, Country Manager for Mastercard New Zealand and Pacific Islands.

“Ways to ease the holiday pressure include saving or spreading purchases throughout the year, and for others reducing the number of gifts purchased or setting a smaller budget can go a long way to making the silly season more enjoyable. The key thing is to have a practical approach and plan ahead.”

In order to cut back on costs, New Zealanders are spending less on gifts for their parents and in-laws, with almost half of New Zealanders saying they will only spend up to $50 on their parents, compared to 20% spending that amount in 2015.  60 per cent of Kiwis are also planning to spend under $50 on their siblings, compared to 35 per cent in 2015.

35 per cent of Kiwis said they had been saving for Christmas throughout the year, however 31 per cent rely on their November and December pay cheque to fund Christmas.

“Christmas costs can add up when you combine gifts, travel and food, which can mean the holiday period can be the most financially stressful time of year for many. The reality of Christmas is that expenditures increase over this period, so having a clear strategy around how to manage your money makes a big difference,” says Chisnall.

Half of respondents, up slightly on 2015, will be limiting their gifts to 1 to 5 people this Christmas, with a third planning gifts for 6 or more people.

Women are more than twice as likely as men to purchase gifts for more than 11 people – 8 per cent of men versus 23% of women.

Children continue to be an expense for parents with 20 per cent planning to spend $200-$300 on gifts for each child.

Kiwis plan to spend the least amount of money on friends and extended family members, with 71 per cent only planning to spend up to $50 on friends and 66 per cent planning to spend that amount on extended family.

Overall half of New Zealanders expect their total household Christmas spend will be under $500 on items such as food, travel, presents and decorations.


About the research

This monthly Perceptive Omnibus surveyed 1000 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.

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Acumen Republic for Mastercard
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