COVID-19 Could Wipe Out P95 Billion From Retail Industry Revenues This Christmas

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In the Philippines, Christmas is usually the best time of the year for the retail industry. In the spirit of giving, Filipinos don’t shy away from buying gifts for loved ones, décor for the home, and piles of groceries for big Christmas feasts. But that was before COVID-19.

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With many Filipinos unemployed, this year’s Christmas might be gloomier than the last as 52 percent of Filipinos surveyed by Finder plan to spend less this holiday season.

Of the 2,018 Filipinos that participated in Finder’s poll, over half plan to spend 31 percent less than average this year. That pulls down the average Christmas spending from P17,000 per family to P11,781. The difference is a whopping P5,219, which is a notable sum for the retail industry that relies on its customers.

Photo by Finder.

Finder estimates that the retail industry would potentially lose P95 billion in potential revenues from Christmas shopping. With reduced consumer spending due to COVID-19, this could limit the income of retail this holiday season and slow down the industry comeback everyone is waiting for.

Photo by Finder.

Ten countries were surveyed in Finder’s research, and the Philippines had the second-highest percentage of people planning to cut costs. South Africa led the survey with 56 percent, and Hong Kong and India followed the Philippines with 47 percent each. Even the U.S.A. reported less Christmas spending with 40 percent planning to stick to a tighter budget.

Of the Filipinos surveyed, “About one in five (22 percent) will at least halve their annual Christmas outlay, while 16 percent plan to reduce spending by just five percent,” said Susannah Binsted, money specialist at Finder. 

“The 'ber' months have come which means Christmas has already started in the Philippines... Planning ahead can save you big bucks and reduce stress, especially if you spread the cost over a number of months rather than holding out until December," advised Binstead. 

She also suggests taking advantage of the sale events Lazada and Shopee are famous for, particularly the upcoming 10.10 day, 11.11 day, and 12.12 day sales. 

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As for the industry, it will be crucial to play the field online as many consumers will be planning to shop online this year. And that likelihood might increase if lockdown is extended all the way to Christmas. 

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Anri Ichimura
Section Editor, Esquire Philippines
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