Credit card spending to pick up as Christmas nears, says Citi


With Christmas less than two months away, it won’t be long until the country starts buzzing with shopping. 

In fact, many Aussies might have already gotten a jump on their Christmas shopping, as new Citi research shows that the estimated credit card spend for October is 3% higher than September. 

The top three spend industries are supermarkets (10.3%), household goods retailing (8.85%) and business services (7.06%), Citi reports. 

Interestingly, hotels, spas and resorts have held a spot as the 11th highest spend category, which head of credit cards at Citi Australia, Choong Yu Lum says could show how many households are planning to spend at the end of the year. 

 “The credit card industry continues its path to recovery with ‘spend’ increasing month on month. Customer spend patterns reflect a trend towards leisure time and holiday seeking, with behaviour showing consumers are on board with the easing of isolation restrictions and are ready for a break,” he said.

Aussies determined to make every reward point count

Rewards cards have certainly taken a hit during 2020, as travel perks and free flights were all but made redundant. However, Citi found that rewards lovers are still keen to redeem their points by any means necessary. 

They found that the top three spend of rewards points were:

  • E-vouchers (39.06%)
  • Gift cards (24.72%)
  • Select and credit - choosing to use rewards points for a credit card purchase (12.96%).

“We can assume that customers are shifting towards redemption options that allow them to stretch their dollar more in this environment of economic uncertainty,” says Yu Lum. 

“Vouchers, gift cards and select and credit are all options that allow consumers to be smart with their money and use their rewards points to make a purchase they would have made anyway, that little bit more affordable.”

How Aussies can spend wisely at Christmas

With Citi predicting that credit card spending will pick up in November, many Aussies will soon start buckling down to work on their gift lists. 

So if you’re someone who still wants to spread the love this festive season, while keeping your savings intact, here’s our four quick tips for responsible Christmas shopping:

  • Get savvy with sales: Black Friday and Cyber Monday are only weeks away, which means crazy sales from electronics to clothes. But rather than splurge on yourself this year, why not use it as the opportunity to pick up items on your gift list. This way you can get your loved ones a gift they’ll love without paying full price. 
  • Budget, budget, budget: Planning a Christmas shopping budget can help keep your spending in check. There are a few ways to do this, like setting a spend limit for every person or choosing a total spend for the festive season, which includes gifts and groceries. 
  • Give with your heart: If money is tighter this year around, it might be worth tapping into those creative juices and making your own gifts. This could mean whipping up some baked goods or making candles. 
  • Shop around, always: One of the easiest ways to save money on your Christmas shopping is to compare prices of the same item before heading to the checkout. Or if you find an item cheaper elsewhere, ask the retailer if they’d be willing to price match!

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