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Christmas Rituals

Media Release 12 December 2007

Christmas Rituals

Most of us have long-established Yuletide rituals, but have you ever wondered what goes on in all those other households leading up to December 25? This year, AMP Capital Shopping Centres (AMPCSC) asked 500 New Zealanders about their Christmas habits to shine the light on what we buy, how much we spend and just who gives the best presents.

Researcher Rick Starr said, “There is a tendency for families to spend time together, and do much of their seasonal shopping, at shopping centres during the Christmas period, so this research helps AMPCSC understand what’s going on in Kiwi families at the busiest time of year.”

“Kiwis will find the results enlightening, though many women will be unsurprised to learn that of the seven percent of respondents who leave Christmas shopping until the last minute, men outnumber women by a factor of three to one!” said AMPCSC Senior Marketing Manager Linh Luong.

The majority of Kiwis are more organised; although one third of us wait until the final fortnight before Christmas, 21 percent starting shopping a month in advance, 16 percent two months out from Christmas Day, and one quarter a full three months early. Three percent of Kiwis rest up on Christmas Day and launch into the Boxing Day sales with vim and vigour, buying their gifts for the following year 364 days early.

Along with finding that men are more likely to do the Christmas-Eve dash, the survey also identified a notable gender difference in attitudes to gift-giving. Men are more likely to indulge children with big-ticket items, with 8.3 percent of men saying it is appropriate to spend over $300 per child, compared to 3.7 percent of women. No women respondents considered appropriate to spend over $1000 per child, while 1.4 percent of men said they would spend $1000, $2000 or more.

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Women were firm on the question of the best givers: themselves. When asked who buys the best presents, more than one quarter of women and just one eighth of men answered ‘me.’ Further data analysis bore out women’s confidence; mums are rated better givers than dads by a factor of 11 to one.

The top two gifts for adults were vouchers, which 18 percent of respondents plan to give, and books (10 percent). A refusenik 9.6 percent of respondents said they would give nothing to other adults, but did not report what, if anything, they expect to receive.

Of the large majority of adults who do intend to buy for others, shopping habits are reasonably similar between the sexes. Men tend to take the ‘easy out’ more often, with 21 percent giving vouchers compared to 16 percent of women. Men are more likely to give books (12 vs nine percent), and three times more likely to give booze (10 vs three percent). Women outnumber men in the gifting of clothes (nine vs six percent), homewares (10 vs five percent) and money (2.5 vs 1.4 percent)

The respondents, all adults, were asked what they think kids like at Christmas, with 60 percent saying the key attraction was getting gifts. At 11 percent and 10 percent respectively, ‘time with family and friends’ and ‘holiday from school’ came a distant second and third. Summer weather, outdoor activities and the beach were all rated at one to two percent.

Across the country – what people said

Aucklanders proved as fond of a gift voucher as their fellow Kiwis, with 18.5 percent saying they would give them this Christmas. Other favoured items to give were books (14.5 percent) and homewares (13 percent), along with vouchers from Oxfam, homemade gifts, hugs, ‘squashes’ and love. Awww. Just one percent will give nothing.

For 37.5 percent of respondents, $100 to $200 is an appropriate amount to spend on a child. Twenty-two percent said $50 to $100 was appropriate, and 14 percent nominated $20 to $50 as the appropriate price bracket for kids’ presents.

When asked what they think Kiwi kids like most about Christmas, 14 percent of respondents said ‘getting presents’, with school holidays and Christmas morning coming a close second-equal.

The survey revealed that Tauranga, seems to be an usually generous part of the country; just 0.3 percent of respondents said they would give no Christmas presents to adults, compared with nearly 10 percent of Kiwis in general. Of those who will give, one quarter will give vouchers, 17 percent books and 12 percent homewares. Other thoughtful presents include homemade goods, babysitting services and warm and welcoming hospitality.

Half of those surveyed said $50 to $100 was the appropriate amount to spend on a child; 14 percent said $20 to $50 was appropriate; 11 percent said $100 to $200 and a big-hearted six percent said $200 to $300.

When asked what they think Kiwi kids like most about Christmas, the popular response ‘getting presents’ won out again, getting 15 percent of the vote in Tauranga. Holidays from school and Christmas morning each garnered 11.5 percent.

The fashion-forward people of Christchurch bucked the national trend of giving vouchers to adults for Christmas; instead, 34 percent of respondents said their preferred present to give was clothing, with vouchers coming second (18 percent) and homewares and candy (including chocolate) third-equal at 11.5 percent. Other thoughtful gifts were plants for the garden, homemade gifts, and time spent helping out around the house.

For 32 percent of respondents, $50 - $100 is an appropriate amount to spend on a child, while 31 percent said $100 to $200 was appropriate. A more conservative 28 percent would spend $20 - $50 on a present for a little person.

When asked what they think Kiwi kids like most about Christmas, 20 percent of respondents said ‘getting presents. Christmas morning, at 15 percent, just edged out holidays from school at 14 percent.


About AMP Capital Shopping Centres (AMPCSC)
AMP Capital Shopping Centres (AMPCSC) manages five Centres in New Zealand; LynnMall, Botany Town Centre and Manukau Supa Centre in Auckland, Bayfair Shopping Centre in Tauranga and The Palms in Christchurch. In total there are forty three centres, thirty eight of which are in Australasia.

AMP Capital Shopping Centres (AMPCSC) fits within the Property Division of AMP Capital Investors and provides asset, development and property management expertise to the shopping centres owned and/or managed by AMP Capital Investors’ various property funds and private clients.

About the research
Data collection: Data was collected through telephone interviews conducted by Consumer Link, a reputable market research company headquartered in Auckland. Interviews were collected using random-digit dialling on a nationwide basis. A total of 500 interviews were collected between 7 and 13 November 2007.

Representativeness of the sample: Based on the data received, we believe the sample is representative of households with fixed-line phones. The sample somewhat over-represents women at 43%, but this is typical of all telephone survey work. Overall, we believe the sample fairly represents the attitudes of the majority of New Zealanders.

Margin of Error: The margin of error of this research is ±4.38 percentage points on a national basis, 95% of the time, on questions in which opinion is evenly split.

About Rick Starr
Rick Starr has spent his career in marketing management and education. He has experience as a brand manager at Johnson Wax and Procter & Gamble, in business-to-business marketing for banking equipment and printing, and as a consultant to many New Zealand and American companies.

Rick moved to Auckland in 1995, to teach at the University of Auckland and offer marketing consultancy and market research services. In this role he has had the opportunity to work with leading New Zealand corporations, SME’s, and government organisations.

Rick shares his experience with managers studying in the Executive Programmes at the University of Auckland Business School as a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Marketing. He has published in Qualitative Market Research, Marketing Letters, and the European Journal of Marketing, and co-authored the Instructor’s Edition of Philip Kotler’s Principles of Marketing. He is a frequent media commentator on marketing issues.


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