A study has revealed that Ugandans spend 80 percent of their monthly income on festive season expenses.

The study, which was conducted by WorldRemit to determine the true cost of Christmas in 14 countries, showcases the average costs of traditional Christmas meals, decorations and gifts.

The study indicates that Christmas is one of the primary reasons immigrants and migrants send money back to their home country because of the high cost of coveted seasonal items, food, and the overall impact Covid-19 has had on supply chains and inflation.

 Of the 14 countries observed, data showed Rwandans are most impacted by the disparity between average household income and holiday costs, spending 708% of their monthly income and nearly 60 percent of their annual income on the holiday.

 “Filipinos spend 257% of their monthly income on the holiday. In the region, Christmas celebrations begin in September and extend into January, making it challenging for many families to afford the basic costs of Christmas. Without remittances into countries like the Philippines, celebrating Christmas would be near impossible,” reads the study in part.

 The report adds: “During the holidays, immigrants and overseas foreign workers are often unable to celebrate with their families in-person, and find themselves working to support not only themselves, but also their families and communities back home.”

For example, of the 14 countries that typically receive remittances, 10 spent more than 50% of their monthly household income on the holiday. A holiday that would be impossible without remittances, the season of giving becomes vital, where the world’s largest send markets typically only spend less than 3% of their annual income on the holiday.

A number of people, researchers and marketers agree that Christmas should be about spending.

Mr Jude Kansiime, head of marketing dfcu bank, concurs that it is during such seasons that we see a change in terms of spending patterns especially for our customers.

 “We are seeing a spike in this period but that is as a result of the effects of the Covid 19 pandemic. Over the last 18months or so, the consumer levels have been severely affected,” he explains.

 He notes that if you are comparing quarter on quarter, you will probably see an increase spent from the consumer point of view but if you are to compare the pre- pandemic period 2019 visa vie 2021, spending will be subdued because generally households have been impacted by Covid-19.

 “Consumptive spending tends to go up because it is a seasonal factor. It has been a difficult year for everyone so a little bit of celebration will not be bad as long as they are within limit and following the standard operating procedures to ensure we all stay safe especially now that there will be re-opening of the economy in January,” he says.

Mr Benjamin Mukiibi, manager, researcher and strategy, Uganda Retirement Benefits Regulatory Authority (URBRA), says the festive season is that time of the year where people really spend their money.

 This differs in age. For instance, those with more responsibilities do not spend much because they have obligations such as school fees.

 “Many households have had a drop in expendable income. This means their disposable income is low and they must be cautious about their consumption and expenditure habits,” he says.