Financial Behaviour

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Australian's are practical gift-givers

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As a nation we have become conscientiousness and want to buy gifts that are more practical.

Cash or gift cards most popular

Cash and gift cards are Australia’s new go-to gifts. We much prefer to give cash or gift cards for weddings, adult birthdays, Christmas, and teen birthdays. The only occasion for which we prefer giving tangible gifts (above cash or gift cards) are children’s birthdays, for which toys are our gift of choice.

Baby Boomers most prefer giving cash. More than half (53%) normally give cash2 for weddings, 41% normally give cash at Christmas, 38% prefer to give cash for adult birthdays, 45% prefer to give cash for a teen birthday, and 21% normally give cash for a child’s birthday.

We like to give and receive cash

We not only prefer to give cash; we also prefer the convenience and usefulness of receiving cash or gift cards. We are more likely to desire cash and gift cards for a wedding, birthday, or Christmas than any other category of gift.

Parents report their children are also strongly cash or gift card focused. While parents state their children’s top preferences for birthdays would be in the form of toys (53%, among children 0-12) or technology and gadgets (36%, among teens 13-18), cash is the second.

We prefer getting practical gifts to personal ones

We love to give cash but many of us still value more sentimental gifting of something personal and unique. Half of us (48%) prefer to give personal gifts that are unique and the other half of us (52%) prefer to give practical gifts that are useful.

Are the personal gifts we give well received?

Perhaps not as often as we like to think. Just a third of gift recipients (35%) prefer to receive personal and unique gifts over practical, useful ones.

In contrast, many Australians are utilitarian, functional, and pragmatic. Two thirds (65%) of us prefer to receive useful, practical gifts above unique, personal ones. This is particularly true of men (74% prefer practical gifts), but also true for more than half of women (56% prefer practical gifts).

Time is a precious gift

Intangible gifts are often the most practical gifts to share and receive. Spending time with others is one of our most sought-after gifts.

Given the choice, 61% of us prefer others celebrate our birthdays by spending quality time with us. We next want an experience together (39%) before wanting a tangible gift or cash gift (30%).

Ways we would like to Celebrate

Intangible gifts are particularly important for Gen Z. They are the only generation of whom more than half say that receiving an intangible gift such as time, an experience, or learning a new skill has had a more significant impact on shaping their life than a physical, tangible gift (53% choose ‘intangible’ over ‘tangible’, compared to just 27% of Baby Boomers).


For more information, practical tips and insights about gifts for weddings, Christmas and children’s parties, go to download the new FPA Goodness of Giving ebook.


More on the FPA 'Gifts that Give' national survey

For more information, practical tips and insights about gifts for weddings, Christmas and children’s parties download the new FPA Goodness of Giving ebook.

The FPA “Gifts that Give” national survey of Australians reveals some truly fascinating insights into how we think, buy, plan and spend our money on those we love the most. Did you know Australia is a generous generation and spends nearly $20 billion a year on gifts? This 19-page report is a fascinating read and a great conversation starter with friends and families.

Download the Goodness of Giving eBook.

Download the full report - Gifts that Give.

Take FPA Gift-Giver Personality Quiz and discover detailed personality profiles with fascinating insights about buying behaviours, preferences and habits.


Considering giving a practical gift of a financial plan?

You can book a 'gift for the future' voucher with one of our experienced financial planners. Call us to arrange a voucher on 02 4229 8533.



2 Statements in this report about preferences to give “cash” includes gift vouchers or gift cards. 

Aricle by FPA - Gifts that Give Research Report & Money & Life

General Disclaimer: This article contains information that is general in nature. It does not take into account the objectives, financial situation or needs of any particular person. You need to consider your financial situation and needs before making any decisions based on this information. Please seek personal financial advice prior to acting on this information.