Mozo’s Comfort Spending Report 2021

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Key facts:

  • 1 in 3 Aussies have increased comfort spending since the Covid-19 pandemic began 
  • Takeaway food was the most common way to spend extra cash 
  • The average Aussie is spending $2,172 a year on comfort purchases

Baking bread, making frothy coffee and binge watching a documentary about a man and his love for tigers - there’s not much we didn’t do in 2020 to stave off boredom. But according to new Mozo data, we also spent time indulging in a bit of retail therapy. 

Mozo analysis shows that 1 in 3 Aussies have increased their comfort spending since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

A massive 87% of Aussies admitted that they do comfort spend, with one in five frequently making comfort purchases. 

And if that wasn’t frightening enough, a Mozo number crunch found that the average Aussie is dropping $2,172 a year on comfort purchases, nationally that’s a jaw dropping $37,533,391,524! 

“Many of us have been cooped up at home and that has led to some sizable comfort spending. One in three people spent more last year on comfort spending than they had ever spent before,” said Mozo Director, Kirsty Lamont. 

“It’s no surprise that over half admit that their comfort spending habits put pressure on their budget.”

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What is comfort spending exactly? Well, our emotions are involved

Comfort spending refers to buying things to make us feel better, whether it’s a new pair of shoes, our favourite takeaway meal or a new gadget. 

Mozo found that one in three people said anxiety and stress was linked to their comfort spending, while a further 16% said they spend money when they had a bad day at work and a considerable 38% comfort spend when they were bored!

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Takeaway food (43%) was the most common way Aussies chose to comfort spend in 2020, followed by chocolate (39%) and clothing (38%), which previously held the number one spot in Mozo’s 2019 Comfort Spending Report.

“During a time of limited travel and activities, food was a great way to spice up the week and add some flavour back into monotonous times,” said Lamont. 

Shoes was also a hot comfort item, with 20% of Aussies adding a few more pairs to their collection. 

Beauty and cosmetics were also a popular comfort spending pick amongst many, at 19% and 15%, respectively. 

Other non-popular items purchased were books and literacy, special cheeses and craft supplies. 

Males (33%) reportedly spent more alcohol than women (17%), meanwhile females (42%) spent more on chocolate than men (36%).

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How Aussies are footing the comfort spend bill

As the Covid-19 pandemic and unemployment spread across the country, many households may have had to rely on their plastic more than normal. 

In fact, a concerning 48% confessed to putting their comfort spending on their credit card, while 50% opted for their debit card. 

A further 13% dipped into their savings and 10% chose to use a Buy Now, Pay Later service.

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When it came down to how much we’re comfort spending, 24% of Aussies are dropping $51 - $100 a month, while 19% are spending $101 - $200 per month. 

“Almost half (45%) are putting their comfort purchases on credit cards and a further 13% are dipping into their savings in order to make these purchases. Almost every Australian made at least one comfort purchase last year,” says Lamont. 

And while a ‘pick me up’ purchase every now and then can be harmless, Mozo found that more than half of Aussies (53%) say their comfort spending is putting somewhat of a strain on their budget, while 47% believe it has no impact at all. 

Yes, emotions have been riding high during a difficult year, but there are ways to stay on top of your spending. We’ve listed them below:

Mozo’s top 4 ways to keep comfort spending under control

  • Out of sight, out of mind - Given that a lot of us like to comfort spend when we’re bored, it might be worth removing temptation by unsubscribing from marketing emails you receive from retailers. That way when you’re bored and randomly check your email, you won’t be flooded with invitations to spend. 
  • Start a savings account for comfort spending - If comfort spending does make you feel better from time to time, set up a savings account dedicated to it. By doing this, you won’t be dipping into regular savings and can stay on track to hit your savings goal. 
  • Avoid comfort spending with your credit card - There’s nothing worse than paying your credit card balance off on purchases that were made on a whim, especially if you’re paying interest as well. To avoid this sting, opt to only comfort spend with money you already have. 
  • Try to find an alternative - Comfort spending often comes from intense emotions and the need to feel better. So if you are trying to curb your impulse spending this year, finding a comfort spending alternative could be the way to go. This could mean things like going for a walk, meditation or journaling.

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