Little merry for businesses in Covid Christmas - Beaking Kenya News

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Tuesday, 22 December 2020

Little merry for businesses in Covid Christmas


Christmas is the most cherished time of the year, but businesses are not  certain if they can bank on the festivities to at least cushion hem from a bad year.

For Anne Muthoni, a salonist at Umoja Market, the season is usually busy as she gets many clients who want to look good during the festive season.

By the start of December, Muthoni's stall is usually flocked with clients, however this year business is yet to pick up.

“I hope as we approach Christmas I will get more clients so that I can also have some spare cash to celebrate as business has been really bad this year,” she laments.

Elmad Odundo who sells second hand clothes in Mlolongo market has also not started getting people buying 'nguo za Christmas' as his sales are still low.

Emma Kieti who owns a butchery in Syokimau says her business has still not picked up even wiith the upcoming Christmas festivities, it is still reeling from the Covid-19 effects.

“Our meat supply got affected when coronavirus hit Kenya as we used to get the goats and cows from Tanzania which was made difficult by the various travel restrictions, therefore we now get meat from middlemen who hike the price,” said Emma.

She adds that the 10pm curfew has denied her customers as most used to buy meat from her butchery at night during the past Christmas season.

Grace Kibira , who sells beef and goat meat directy from the slaughterhouse in Syokimau says her business has remained afloat mainly on direct orders from her neighbours. 

Josephine Musyoka, who owns a wholesale retail shop at Embakasi says her business is looking bright as the Christmas season approaches as people are buying the common food items such as wheat flour, maize flour and rice in bulk.

Business in the transport sector has significantly picked up ahead of Christmas but Lennox Shalo General Manager Mash East Africa says the Covid-19 restrictions have curtailed them from operating at full capacity

He says that they have full bookings for the period but the fact that they are carrying at 50 per cent capacity doesn't make the season fruitful.

“Our buses are fully booked for the season to all destinations from Mombasa to Mumias to Malaba but we cannot compare this season to other years as we are carrying half loads,” says Shalo.

Hotels have however reported improved business ahead of the Christmas holidays, with some facilities likely to be overwhelmed by numbers.

Some facilities have indicated they will be full during the Christmas weekend.

Serena's Maasai Mara facility has recorded full booking between December 24–26, with continued inquiries for Christmas and the New Year.

At Baobab Beach Resort, Diani, numbers are expected to rise this week mainly from the domestic guests from Nairobi and Mombasa, as locals secure last minute bookings.

Coronavirus's economic shock has squeezed the Christmas budget for most families in Kenya, with the majority likely to spend as little as Sh5,000 compared to last year.

The Kenya 2020 December Holiday Retail Survey by Viffa Consult which assessed spending sentiments among Kenyans ahead of Christmas festivities established that the majority are willing to spend between Sh5,000 and Sh30,000.

According to the survey, 84 percent are planning a low budget Christmas compared to 55 per cent last year.

There is a significant drop in projected spending between Sh31,000 and Sh500,000 which fell by a combined 32 per cent to a mere seven per cent from 35 per cent in 2019.

Only two per cent are likely to spend between Sh100,000 to Sh500,000 compared to 14 per cent last year.

The reduction in planned spending comes as Kenyans register reduced gross monthly earnings that have hit hard the burgeoning middle class known for high spending during holidays.

For instance, there is a 22 per cent drop in salaries for individuals earning between Sh50,000 and Sh500,000 as companies affected payouts as a coping mechanism during the pandemic season.

However, there was a 21 per cent increase in the number of those earning below Sh50,000 while those earning above Sh500,000 increased by one per cent, indicating a growing class of richer individuals despite tough economic times.

A study from McKinsey in South Africa revealed that consumer spending has experienced changes; as the holiday season approaches this year.

The report found ongoing reductions in discretionary spending, and that 88 per cent of households expect to spend the same or less on the holidays as they did last year.

This change in spending and shopping habits is likely to have impacts on both brands and media agencies for months to come, and may spur longer-term changes in the usage of online shopping and mobile money throughout the region.

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