Christmas in a time of COVID: data from payments app Beem It reveals Australians are toasting a Healthy New Year

From gift-giving to Christmas lunch, Beem It transactions reveal a more conscious festive season.

The days of Christmas and New Year being a fixture of over-consumption and excess for many Australians could well be a thing of the past as the nation increasingly embraces moderation and consciously healthier celebrations in the wake of COVID.

That’s the take-away from new payments trend data* released by Australia’s-own digital wallet Beem It, which drills down into how we gave, spent and received over the festive break and reveals a nation prepared to pace itself when toasting special occasions.  

Beem It CEO Mark Britt said: “Beem It wanted to explore how spending habits on the platform had shifted amid the ever-changing Covid climate. And while some things remained consistent – like food-related payments leading the charge – there were some interesting movements in spend categories and behaviours that stood out, particularly health related spending.”

Drink related transactions remained pretty consistent over the break, with only a slight increase (less than 5%) in total value YoY, while alcohol specifically showed a decrease of more than 15% in the number of related transactions.

December 2021 also put health on the chart, with the amount spent on ‘health’ related transactions increasing over 40% compared to the same time previous year. However, spend on gym-specific transactions shed volume, dropping more than 25% YoY, a clear sign people still see safety as an issue or are tending to go on their own.

As restrictions eased, there was also a significant jump in the number of groups formed during December (a whopping 33% YoY), indicating socialisation was back firmly and with a passion. Other summer social activities like concerts and festivals also soared compared to last year, with the total amount spent on entertainment related transactions rising more than 60% YoY. 

Dining out was also firmly on the menu for Beem It’s millennial base, chalking-up a +20% increase in total amount spent. 

We also hit the road. There was a noticeable bump in Beemers packing their bags and getting away, with an increase in both the number of transactions and total spend related to holiday and/or trips. Queensland seemed to be a destination of choice this year, featuring strongly among transactions.

And when it came to Christmas, gift-related transactions specifically saw a rise from the previous year with a 7% increase in total value, with Beemers becoming more generous: the average gift cost rose from $86 to $90. Even Santa was more generous this year with a total related transaction value +10% higher than the previous year.

Note:* Beem It usage data and analysis comparing 1/12/20 - 31/12/20 and 1/12/21 - 31/12/21