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Kiwis In Control Of Spending As Christmas Approach

Kiwis In Control Of Spending As Christmas Approaches

Four out of five New Zealanders feel they are in control of their Christmas spending and do not expect to overspend this year, according to the results of UMR Research survey commissioned by VISA International.

In its findings the research company says most anticipate they will spend about the same as last year and they're "fairly relaxed" about the amount they expect to spend this Christmas. The survey also showed that credit cardholders are no more likely to expect to overspend than those who do not have credit cards.

Bruce Mansfield, Visa International General Manager for Australia and New Zealand said the survey showed that in spite of overwhelming confidence in the prospects for the Australian economy in 2005, consumers did not plan to increase their general level of spending this Christmas.

"The vast majority of respondents anticipated that their Christmas spending would not be greater than last year. This is a positive sign that New Zealander's are continuing to be responsible managers of their personal finances," Mr Mansfield said.

One in five New Zealanders expect to purchase fewer gifts this year, while one in nine think that they will buy more. Similarly, one in five people expect to spend less this year, while one in seven expect to spend more.

The amount people expected to spend on Christmas gifts varied widely. The majority expected to spend less than $300, with 16 percent spending less than $100. One in twenty said they were planning to "splash out" and spend more than $1000.

As would be expected, people on higher incomes planned to spend considerably more than those at the lowest end of the scale. Credit card holders were more likely to expect to spend over $500 than non-cardholders (22 percent compared with 12 percent). Men generally planned to spend slightly more than women, while the most profligate age group was 30-44 year-olds.

Twenty-eight percent of those surveyed expected to make most of their purchases by credit card, while 41 percent expected to use EFTPOS. Three quarters of New Zealand cardholders (75 percent) believed that having a credit card available makes no difference to how much they spend at Christmas, while 17 percent concede that it has encouraged them to spend a little more (four percent a lot more). One in four said they used their credit card more at Christmas than they did at other times of the year.

A quarter of New Zealand cardholders said they did not pay their entire credit card bill on time last year, although this proportion showed some signs of declining (26 percent, down from 28 percent in 2003 and 31 percent in 2002). Most (60 percent) of these people claimed they had finished paying off this bill within three months after the due date.

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