Financial pressures are causing shoppers more stress this Christmas compared with last year, but crowded shopping malls are a greater cause for concern, a survey says.
AMP Capital Shopping Centres canvassed 1200 New Zealanders in Auckland, Tauranga and Christchurch in October for its 2011 Christmas Poll.
It found 50 per cent of respondents considered crowded shopping centres the most stressful aspect of the "silly season".
Financial pressures moved from the fourth biggest cause of stress last year to the second this year, the survey said.
The third most stressful aspect was shopping for difficult-to-buy-for people, while other stressors included gaining weight, last-minute shopping and missing friends and family.
AMP Capital Shopping Centres senior marketing manager Desiree Clark said that although financial pressures had become the second leading cause of stress, New Zealanders were becoming more frugal.
Forty-five per cent of respondents agreed that they were spending more responsibly this year, while 34 per cent said their bank manager would approve of their shopping list, she said.
The majority of male respondents planned to spend $400 to $499 this year - a big lift on last year, when they wanted to spend just $200 to $299 on gifts.
Most women will spend the same amount as last year - $500 to $599, according to the survey.
Although the rise of the internet has dramatically changed the retail environment, 43 per cent of respondents agreed and 28 per cent strongly agreed that they preferred to shop in-store rather than online.
"A total of 71 per cent of respondents prefer to shop in-store and like the personal customer service experience," said New Zealand Retailers Association spokesman Russell Sinclair.
"When you consider that this was an online-only survey which would skew the results, one can assume that 90 per cent of all shoppers still prefer to shop at a bricks-and-mortar retailer if their needs can be met."