Five per cent of Kiwis won't be buying Christmas presents this year, according to research commissioned by Mastercard.
The credit card company found 35 per cent of Kiwis were feeling more financially stressed this Christmas, up from 31 per cent in 2016 and 27 per cent in 2015.
Fifteen per cent of Kiwis said they had more than 11 people to shop for this Christmas, 45 per cent of people had up to five people to buy for and 5 per cent of Kiwis would not be buying Christmas gifts this year.
More than a quarter of Kiwis said they intended to spend more than $200 per child - of any age - this Christmas and 15 per cent said the same for their partners.
The research found 35 per cent of Kiwis had been saving their money and 32 per cent had been buying presents throughout the year to spread the financial cost.
Twenty seven per cent of Kiwis said they were intending to spend more than $200 per child - of any age - this Christmas.
Men were found to be more likely to spend more on their partners compared to women, with 17 per cent of men saying they will spend more than $200 on a gift, and 11 per cent of women saying they will spend more than $200 on a gift.
Spending on debit and credit cards shot up in November and beat expectations ahead of the most important season of the year for retailers.
Retail card spending rose by 1.2 per cent last month, beating Westpac's forecast of 0.8 per cent. The total was boosted by a 5 per cent rise in fuel spending, which was in line with the rise in petrol prices over the month.
Spending in the core retail categories rose by 0.8 per cent, led by a 1.2 per cent rise in both durables and hospitality, and a 2.7 per cent rise in clothing.
Spending increases throughout the year had been consistently low and more than 50 per cent of retailers had not been hitting their sales targets, Retail NZ general manager of public affairs Greg Harford said.
"All eyes are of course on Christmas because that's traditionally the peak spending season for New Zealand, and that's not just on Christmas presents but because it's summer, we're out and about doing stuff, buying things, and sorting the garden."
Last month's 1.2 per cent increase was good news for the sector, Harford said.
"We've been expecting spending to increase slightly," he said.
"But there's nothing to suggests to us that the fundamental mood of consumers is likely to change and people are going to get out and spend more."
Summer historically meant an increase in consumer spending, but Harford said he wasn't holding his breath for a large increase.
"We're operating in an environment now where one per cent increase in spending on an seasonally adjusted basis is typically being seen as a good thing," he said.
"We're in a low-spending, low-inflationary environment and consumers are still feeling squeezed."