Women spend and stress more over gifts

Women tend to spend more on Christmas gifts and feel more stressed about the holiday season than men, according to a new survey.

The latest Christmas poll by AMP Capital Shopping Centres, which owns The Palms shopping mall, found 23 per cent of respondents reported being more stressed than last year, compared with just 7 per cent in the previous poll in 2007. The poll surveyed shoppers in Auckland, Mt Maunganui and 280 in Christchurch.

The company's senior marketing manager, Desiree Clark, said it was a mixed picture.

"Kiwis are feeling the pinch, but we seem to be in good shape by global standards. It is shaping up to be a more prudent Christmas, but not a dark season at all."

The number one cause of stress for 88 per cent of respondents this Christmas season was crowds in shopping areas. About 83 per cent named traffic and parking next on the list, followed by financial pressures (75 per cent).

Other stress included shopping for "difficult-to-buy-for people", gaining weight, post-Christmas bills and last-minute shopping.

Women made up 88 per cent of the respondents, but men were found to stress more than women on one factor – last-minute shopping.

Rick Starr, a senior lecturer at the University of Auckland Business School, said women were more likely to feel pressured about money and choosing the right gift.

About 26 per cent of respondents said they would be "spending more than they should" on Christmas gifts this year.

Most men said they planned to spend a total of $200 to $299 on gifts, while women expected to spend $500 to $599.

About 2 per cent of respondents expected to spend over $5000.

More Kiwis found pleasure at Christmas rather than stress, with the summer ranking as the best thing about the holiday season.

Other pleasures included seeing family and friends, barbecues, giving gifts, outdoor activities, special holiday foods and Christmas decorations.

Traveller Karsten Pink, 20, said he was not buying Christmas gifts this year as it cost too much to post them home to Germany.

"I'd rather have a good time with the people I like when I go home."

Pink said he enjoyed the "atmosphere" of the holiday season and this year was the first time he would experience Christmas in the summer.

Chef Alex Rangi, 17, said he had just finished his Christmas shopping. He spent the same amount on gifts as in previous years –about $300.

He was pleased to have finished his shopping two weeks early as last-minute gift buying could be stressful.

Ian Bell, 25, said "specials always end the day before pay day – next year I'm going [to] start buying stuff in June."

The Press