Australians spend a whopping $19.8 billion on gifts each year, but some generations are more generous than others.
On average, Baby Boomers and Generation X are more stingy when it comes to gift-giving than their Millennial and Generation Z counterparts, a report released by the Financial Planning Association (FPA) on Monday showed.
The report broke down the generations into the following age groups:
- Generation Z: 18-24 (born 1995 to 2009)
- Generation Y (Millennials): 25-39 (born 1980 to 1994)
- Generation X: 40-54 (born 1965 to 1979)
- Baby Boomers: 55-73 (born 1946 to 1964).
The research showed that Gen Y (Millennials) spend more on gifts than any other generation, with an average of $130 each month ($1560 per
Generation Z, today’s 18 to 24-year-olds, were the next most generous gift givers, spending an average of $91 each month on presents.
They were followed by Baby Boomers, who spent an average of $89 each month on gifts.
Generation X gift givers were the least generous, with an average spend of $87 per month.
The rise of group-gifting and re-gifting
Younger generations were most likely to take part in “group gift-giving”, where people chip in together to buy a more expensive gift.
Four in five Gen Zs and Millennials took part in group giving compared to only three in five Baby Boomers, the report found.
Younger people were also most likely to engage in re-gifting – the phenomenon of passing on a gift you have received to someone else.
Re-gifting is “increasingly perceived as a strategy to reduce waste and lengthen an item’s lifespan”, the report said.
Two in five of us (41 per cent) have re-gifted a gift to another person or for another occasion.
Millennials are the “re-gifting generation”, with 54 per cent admitting to re-gifting compared to 44 per cent of Gen X, 37 per cent of Gen Z, and 32 per cent of Baby Boomers.
Young families were described as “Australia’s most serial re-gifters”, with three in five families with young children aged 0-12 having re-gifted.
Pets pampered with presents
The report also shed light on some of our quirkier gift-giving habits, including our penchant for pampering pets.
Pet owners spent an average of $115 a year on gifts for their pets, the report said, with more than a quarter of pet owners purchasing their pets a gift at least once a month or more.
The tendency to shower pooches with presents was greatest among Generation X pet owners, who spent an average of $142 per pet per year, followed by Millennials who spent an average of $121.
The average amount spent on pets was only just under the amount we shelled out on a wedding gift – an average of $137 – which was more than double the average spend for a significant adult birthday for a friend or family member.
Spouses or partners scored the priciest presents, with an average of $437 spent per year, followed by $361 for “our own child” and $201 per parent.
Millennials set to be poorer than their parents
The FPA report follows alarming new research from independent think tank the Grattan Institute that shows Australia is selling out on young people by breaking a long-standing “generational bargain” that has – up until now – ensured that future generations are as well, or better, off than their predecessors.
The report, titled Generation gap: ensuring a fair go for younger Australians, shows that while Baby Boomers enjoy significantly better living standards than their parents, today’s young Australians will be the first cohort since Federation to see their standard of living decline in comparison to their parents.
Australia’s tax and welfare system supports an “implicit generational bargain” in which working-age Australians are “net contributors to the budget, helping to support older generations in their retirement”, the Grattan Institute researchers Danielle Wood and Kate Griffiths wrote.
Up until now, working-age Australians have been able to “expect that future generations in turn will support them”, they said.
But a series of government policy changes weighted towards older Australians means that while today’s young workers “underwrite the living standards of retirees”, they will be left high and dry in retirement.
“We now ask older Australians to pay a lot less income tax than we once did,” the researchers wrote.
“Disturbingly, these and other changes mean older households now pay much less tax than younger households on the same income.”