Credit card users want to be 'rewarded' and for their cards to add 'real value' to their lives, according to a Citi-commissioned survey of 1,000 respondents.

More than 60% of respondents said that a cashback reward would achieve this, especially ahead of Christmas.

In response, Citi is offering 5% cashback (up to $100) when consumers spend $500 or more on eligible retail shopping using their Citi credit card between 24 November to 1 December 2021. 

Head of Cards and Loans at Citi Australia, Choong Yu Lum, said this is good news for Australian retailers and the economy.

"We hope this incentive will help support businesses as Australia reopens and also help our customers to kickstart their Christmas bargains," Mr Lum said.

"More than 40% of our survey respondents said this offer would lead them to purchase more in November, and we have designed this cashback offer to be as quick and easy as possible to ensure our customers see real value."

Two in five (40%) said they plan on heading in store to do their Christmas shopping this year.

Almost half (45%) of the respondents plan on spending more than $300 on gifts for others, and one third (32%) plan to spend $100 to $200 on themselves.

One in four (25%) plan to spend more on themselves than others, ready to 'spoil themselves' after the 'tumultuous' year. 

"It’s great to see such strong consumer sentiment and appetite to get back into stores," Mr Lum said.

"It has been a tough few years for Australian retailers, but consumers are clearly signaling they are keen to get back to our shopping centres and make this Christmas extra special."

Non-essential retail stores were hit hard by lockdowns, which caused monthly retail turnover to plummet for extended periods according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

As millions of people emerge from lockdowns, retail spending has already started to skyrocketed - from Freedom Day in Sydney to post-lockdown Victoria - with no exception expected for Christmas according to Citi's research.

Shoppers looking for a bargain

Many respondents will bring their Christmas shopping window forward to take advantage of strong online and in store sales according to Citi.

Half (50%) of the respondents said they will spend more in November due to sales, while 72% of people under 40 years old said they're keen to grab a bargain and ready to spend big.

Two in five (40%) said they're likely to shop earlier this year, and 30% now place higher importance on sales due to impacts of the pandemic.

"COVID-19 led to many Aussies becoming more mindful of their finances and spending habits, and we are seeing that consumers want to get more bang for their buck and will change their shopping habits to get the best deal," Mr Lum said.

"40% of our respondents said they were concerned about shipping delays and were bringing their spending forward because of this, with women and younger Australians more likely to be conscious of these issues."

Image by Heidi Fin on Unsplash