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Aussies to spend $16.2b over Xmas: survey

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SYDNEY, Nov 26 AAP

November 26 2012, 2:53PM

Australians are expected to spend $16.2 billion over the festive season giving local businesses a reason to feel optimistic as consumer confidence remains subdued.

Much of that will likely be spent on gifts with people on average budgeting $475 for presents, a Commonwealth Bank survey of more than 1,000 Australians shows. That means an equivalent of $7.8 billion going inside the wrapping paper.

Contrary to complaints that internet shopping is destroying local retailers, those surveyed said they planned to buy most of their Christmas gifts (70 per cent) from bricks and mortar stores.

Those surveyed planned to buy just 30 per cent of their Christmas gifts online.

Boxing Day sales was expected to account for a further $2.2 billion worth of spending, the survey showed.

Commonwealth Bank executive general manager Local BusinessBanking Adam Bennett said the research showed businesses had an opportunity to perform well over the festive season.

"We know that the unpredictable nature of the current economic climate means many businesses are still adverse to taking unnecessary risk, but our research shows that many businesses should be actively looking to take advantage of the millions of Aussies who plan to open their wallets this Christmas," he said.

A further $3.7 billion is planned for vacations over the holiday season and $1.6 billion on entertaining friends and family.

Extra food and drink will also add to the Christmas budget with a total of $554 million for additional stores to consume inside the home and $359 million for supplies for outside of the home.