From fresh lobster to fruit-laden pavlova and the traditional turkey with all the trimmings, Australians are preparing to feast on billions of dollars worth of food and drink this Christmas.
The average Australian shopper will spend $316 on food this festive season, totalling an eyewatering $5.8 billion nationally, a new survey from comparison site Finder shows.
So with serious money on the table, where can shoppers find the best bang for their buck?
Finder analysed the cost of Christmas dinner across the nation’s three biggest supermarket chains – Aldi, Coles and Woolworths.
Discount chain Aldi came out as the cheapest, slashing nearly 30 per cent off the cost of the priciest festive spread from its competitors.
Finder’s supermarket comparison revealed that the total price for a basket of 11 goods from Aldi to feed a family of eight works out at $119.55, followed by Coles at $150.55 and Woolworths at $150.65.
Finder personal finance Taylor Blackburn expert urged Australians to shop around for the best deal.
“The pressure on households is greater this Christmas and many have to make the most of sales to keep a cap on food prices,” Mr Blackburn said.
“However, there are still many Aussies spending big. If you do plan on going that extra mile make sure you shop around to get the best deal.”
Christmas dinner cost breakdown
If you’re opting for a plant-based spread this year your wallet will thank you, with Finder’s product comparison showing that the traditional Christmas ham is the most expensive outlay.
There are still savings to be found, however, with a 5kg triple smoked ham at Aldi costing $59.95 compared to $70 at Coles and Woolies.
If you’re after a roast turkey it pays to shop around, the comparison shows, with prices differing by as much as 45 per cent between retailers.
Vanilla custard is another item where comparison shopping comes in handy, with price differentials of up to 40 per cent.
“It can be tempting to opt for convenience and do your shopping at one store, but venturing further than your go-to supermarket will help you save,” Finder’s personal finance expert Taylor Blackburn said.
“Aldi might not stock everything you need – Coles and Woolies have a much larger range – but it’s a good place to start and pick up some of the essentials.
“A saving as little as $20 still counts during the most expensive time of year. Whether it’s an extra present for the kids, or another bottle of wine, it’s money back in your pocket.”
Coles and Woolworths are also fighting a price matching war, Finder found, with 36 per cent of the big two supermarkets’ ‘top 10’ Christmas products marked with identical prices.
Bumper Boxing Day period expected
Retailers are anticipating a bumper post-Christmas sales period, with shoppers tipped to spend around $19.5 billion during the post-Christmas period – an increase of 3.9 per cent on a year ago.
On Thursday, the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) released its post-Christmas retail sales forecasts in conjunction with Roy Morgan, with the figures showing that retailers will do a roaring trade from Boxing Day through to mid-January.
New South Wales is expected to see the biggest spend in post-Christmas sales (up 4.4 per cent to over $6.1 billion) followed by Queensland (up 7.9 per cent to over $4.1 billion).
Food and household goods are set to see the strongest spending growth, with food spending tipped to rise 10.5 per cent to more than $8.5 billion and household goods tipped to rise 12 per cent to more than $3.5 billion.
But some sectors are more sluggish in recovering from the pandemic hit, with hospitality spending tipped to fall by 16.7 per cent to $2.2 billion) and Clothing, Footwear and Accessories expected to decline 5.2 per cent to $1.4 billion.
“Overall, the post-Christmas retail sales forecasts are incredibly strong and are a positive sign that we’re in for a much brighter 2020,” ARA chief executive Paul Zahra said.
“For many retailers, 2020 has been a year to forget, but things have certainly picked up with strong pre-Christmas sales and that’s now set to flow through to Boxing Day and into 2021.”