‘It’s the Thought That Counts’ – $980m of Christmas gifts will go to waste: The Australia Institute

New research from The Australia Institute has revealed that nearly one third of Australians (30%) are expecting to receive a gift that they will never use this Christmas. 

Three in ten (30%), or approximately 7.3 million Australians will receive gifts they expect they will never use or wear this Christmas, representing a total value of $980 million  in wasted presents (see Method section for calculations).

Key results

  • Three in four Australians (74%) like buying Christmas gifts, but half of Australians (48%) would prefer that others NOT buy them Christmas gifts.
  • Almost nine in ten (87%) of Australians receive Christmas presents (13% do not)
  • Of those who do
    • Three in 10 Australians (30%) expect to get Christmas presents that they will never use.
  • Two thirds (66%) of Australians disagree with the statement that “Buying things that don’t get used is a good way to create jobs and improve the lives of Australians”
  • Half of Australians (50%) agree that it is better for the economy when people buy fewer things that don’t get used (31% disagree) 

“Christmas is a time for giving, but almost half of Australians would prefer that others do not buy them Christmas presents, even though most of us enjoy buying presents for others,” said Ebony Bennett, Deputy Director of The Australia Institute.

“Many of us expect to get presents we’ll never use or wear and two thirds of Australians think buying unwanted presents is not a good way to boost the economy, though it is certainly a good way to bring joy to the big retailers and the big banks if you buy the presents with your credit card.

“One way to spread the retail dollars around thoughtfully is to back initiatives like #BuyFromTheBush and then you’ll have the added benefit of knowing the present you’ve bought has helped drought-affected communities, whether your loved ones use it or not.

“The holidays don’t have to be about buying the biggest, most expensive gifts on the shelf because, as Mum always said, it’s the thought that counts,” said Bennett.

Related research

Media Enquiries

Anna Chang Communications Director

0422 775 161

anna@tai.org.au