Mega spending for Christmas on decline

THE BUSIEST TIME of the year for business houses has ended and by now merchants would have tallied the extra coppers in their coffers.

While everyone would not have achieved their projected targets, there was one characteristic that could not have escaped their observation – the spending patterns of Barbadians have changed over the years.

In times gone by there were no facilities in place to take items immediately and pay later; almost every item was for cash on delivery and shoppers had to be guarded in spending the little they had.

Throughout the year they had been making out on a shoestring aided by the modest amount the shopkeeper would allow them to have on credit.

Money plentiful

What they spent at Christmas time came mainly from sources like a meeting turn, bonus from the Friendly Society, livestock raised in the backyard for the purpose or the meagre extras their employers doled out as a token of appreciation for their services throughout the past year.

In these days money is more plentiful, credit is easily accessible and a variety of goods is always readily available.

Consumers really consume; they shop as though every day reminded them of Christmas. As a result, profits for merchants are now more evenly spread over the year, what with the several events that have been made commercial which were hitherto unknown.

From the beginning of the year to the very end, every opportunity has been taken to market their merchandise to suit the various occasions. There is the New Year’s Eve shindig, Valentine’s Day, Easter parades, kites and bunnies, hurricane preparedness, Labour Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, months of Crop-Over, a month of Independence celebrations and at least a full month of Christmas shopping.

There should be no need to complain if sales and profits did not reach the sought-after end-of-year levels. A steady flow of profit with these occasional increases along the way, and a smaller balloon at the end due to all-year-round spending as now occurs, should equal or surpass low profits throughout the year with a comparatively large balloon at year-end as previously obtained.

Perhaps in time merchants will understand that mega spending for Christmas starting from November is diminishing, not only because of changes in customs, but also as citizens demonstrate their preference for patriotism above commercialism.

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