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With no money, Kenyans embrace frugal activities

Thursday, December 24th, 2020 00:00 |
Residents of Nairobi shop for clothes from a hawker yesterday. Photo/PD/Gerald Ithana

A majority of Kenyans will spend less during this year’s Christmas festivities than they did in 2019, a new report has revealed. 

Trends and Insights Africa (Tifa) says 62 per cent of Kenyans are of the view that financial status had worsened this year compared to the same period last year. 

According to the report, only 25 per cent feel their financial situation is better, with 13 per cent saying they will spend the same amount as last year. 

It further revealed that older generations are more pessimistic about their spending this December compared to the younger generation. 

Kenyans aged 35 years are expected to spend less compared to last year with only 23 per cent intimating they would spend more, whereas 11 per cent claiming they would spend the same amount. 

Of those aged between 18 and 34 years 26 per cent are expected to spend more with 14 per cent spending the same amount. 

In terms of region, the most pessimistic spending is from Eastern leading with 70 followed by Central 69, Nairobi 66, Coast 65, Rift valley 61, Nyanza 60, Western 50 and North Eastern with 42 per cent. 

The report further stated that a majority of females are likely to spend less than last year leading with 63 per cent compared to males who follow closely with 62 per cent. 

It is expected that a majority of Kenyans intend to celebrate Christmas with family. 

Most of these planned gatherings will include elderly relatives in spite of the cautionary remarks made by Ministry of Health Officials. 

Of those interviewed, 75 per cent will be celebrating with immediate family members including the elderly relatives, with 10 per cent expected to celebrate alone. 

Six per cent will be celebrating with immediate family members excluding elderly relatives, with 3 per cent to hold the same in small group gatherings while 1 per cent prefer virtual celebrating instead of in meeting in person. 

Looking at the total sample, those who intend to travel in 2020 are 24 per cent less than those who travelled in 2019. 

The report stated that the highest proportion making plans to travel out of their county is residence are mainly from Nairobi County. 

For example, last year, in the capital, there was a travel record of 51 per cent whereas this year only 20 per cent intend to travel. 

In terms of traveling North Eastern jointly leads with Nairobi with 20 per cent followed by Eastern 17, Nyanza 16 and Rift Valley 16. 

According to Tifa, Kenyan consumers normally increase their spending during the festive season on travel, food and gifts.  

However, it reported that it has been a tough year as the consumers report that their social economic status is worse than it was in 2019.  

The findings of the survey revealed that 2020 has been a difficult year as 69 per cent will spend less than they did in 2019.  

This means that the retail and transport sectors that usually benefit from the Christmas shopping spree are also suffering.   

In brief, it states that Kenyans as consumers are pandemic-weary and are less well-off than they were last year, and less inclined to spend what little money they may have.  

In particular, Covid-19 has disrupted the way shoppers plan to celebrate the festive season. 

One in four people surveyed said they usually travel for the holidays, but will celebrate to whatever extent they can at their county of residence instead this year.

“In Kenya, Christmas is one of the biggest holidays with shoppers spending their time and money on the festivities,” the report stated. 

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