Prioritising health, time with loved ones and appreciating the little things in life will be the top New Year’s resolutions made against the backdrop of a global pandemic, an international survey shows.
Last year, spending time with loved ones ranked as the leading New Year’s resolution, followed by home renovations and travel, according to fintech firm Ferratum’s Christmas Barometer.
But more than one in five of the almost 20,000 respondents this year said health and preventing the spread of COVID-19 was their top resolution for 2021.
Some 16 per cent of survey respondents said they would prioritise spending time with loved ones, while 11 per cent committed to enjoying the little things in life.
Buying big-ticket items such as a house or car ranked further down the list.
Heading into Christmas, more than 76 million people are reported to have been infected by COVID-19 globally and more than 1.7 million people have died.
Overall, more than half of the householders surveyed across 12 countries said they would spend less this Christmas than last, especially given one in 10 had lost their jobs and 17 per cent have had their pay cut.
Yet despite the economic downturn sparked by the pandemic, Australians are planning on spending almost one-quarter of their monthly income on Christmas.
Groceries will constitute 20 per cent of Australians’ festive cash splash, followed by toys and games (11 per cent) and gift cards (8 per cent).
Australia ranked fourth when it came to Christmas spending intentions, while the biggest spenders were in Bulgaria, Romania and Croatia.
Meanwhile, retail sales in Australia jumped by 7 per cent in November, according to seasonally-adjusted data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
But border restrictions and people isolating due to a COVID-19 outbreak in Sydney could prompt people to curb their Christmas spending.
AMP chief economist Shane Oliver said if the lockdown is contained to Sydney’s Northern Beaches, it would not have much of an effect on national retail sales.
But if the lockdown is extended and broadened across Sydney it could have a much stronger impact.
Australian Retailers Association chief executive Paul Zahra said Black Friday and early Christmas shopping sales delivered retailers a fantastic November.
“While the figures are very encouraging, we are remaining cautious,” he said.
“The COVID-19 cluster on the Northern Beaches is having an impact on NSW retailers and we’re seeing reduced foot traffic at stores across Sydney, during what should be their busiest time of year.”