Research conducted in 14 countries showed that the majority of Kenyan households spend over half (54 percent) of their monthly income on Christmas costs.
The costs include food, decorations as well as gifts. Contrary to expectation, Christmas gifts saw the highest expenditure upwards of 20,000 compared to the other two.
The report indicates that the average Kenyan household spends a total of Ksh34,148 with Ksh6,656 going to food, Ksh7,492 going to decorations while whopping Ksh20,000 goes to gifting.File image of a section of Shoprite Supermarket at City Mall, Nyali
This comes in the backdrop of an average monthly income of slightly over Ksh60,000 as of June 2019, rising slightly compared to the previous figure of 586 USD in June 2018 with covid further impacting the average earning of Kenyans.
The report also takes account of remittances from diaspora noting that 10 spent more than 50 per cent of their monthly household income on the holiday in the 14 counties surveyed.
A holiday that would be impossible without remittances, the season of giving has become vital, where the world’s largest economies spend less than 3% of their annual income on the holiday.
However, compared to other countries surveyed Kenya’s spending may be viewed as average, Since some countries such as Mexico, Lebanon, Philippines, Cameroon, Nigeria, Rwanda - spend 100 per cent or more of monthly income on Christmas, meaning most households must dip into savings, borrow, or receive support from friends and loved ones abroad through remittances to celebrate Christmas.
According to the report, the pandemic has also played a role in increasing the cost of the coveted seasonal items such as food, thus making it vital for remittance to come in for senders to be able to support their loved ones.
This year’s holiday spending is set to be higher than 2020, where the holidays were observed under travel and gathering restrictions.
The hotel sector in the coastal region are already reporting full booking unlike in 2020 where they had to shut down and let got their workforce in order to remain afloat.
As of mid-November, the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) passenger service from Nairobi to Mombasa was fully booked ahead of Christmas in a move set to force holidaymakers to seek expensive alternatives like road and air travel.
In an effort to minimize the risk of virus spread, the government had warned those not vaccinated of a potential lock from using public meansFine image of Solio LodgeCOURTESY
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