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  • Writer's pictureZiggurat Realestatecorp

Filipinos look forward to celebrating Christmas amid challenges

Filipinos remain optimistic and look forward to having a merry Christmas celebration this 2023, on the back of expected bonuses and in observance of long-held family traditions.

Kantar, the world’s leading marketing data and analytics company, said that based on historical data, it expects households to continue increasing spend on food and beverage items during the holidays compared to non-Christmas months.

“While the Christmas spirit is felt as early as September, Christmas spending in the fast-moving consumer goods [FMCG] segment typically starts in December when Filipinos receive additional disposable income through 13th month bonuses and other incentives,” said Nino Nierva, account director for Worldpanel Division at Kantar Philippines.

“What we’ve observed, based on our analyses of the spending habits of over 5,000 households year-on-year, is that Filipinos spend most on food and beverage items from December to January versus the rest of the year,” Nierva said.

Kantar noted a a spending uplift of 7 percent in the total FMCG segment during the height of the Christmas season last year (from December 2022 to January 2023) compared to the non-Christmas months covering February to November 2022.

This translated to about P6 billion more spent every month within the holiday period. Specifically, Filipinos spent 11 percent more on food and 9 percent more on beverage categories during the holidays. This trend also extended to dairy products (+6 percent), which included all-purpose cream and condensed milk that are key ingredients of fruit salad, a staple Christmas dessert in the country.

Health and beauty category took a back seat in the same period based on a 4-percent decline in growth last year, according to Kantar.

Data from Kantar showed that handaan must-haves would continue to take-over the shopping baskets of Filipinos in the remaining months of the year. These items, which registered significant growth in December 2022, are expected to remain a priority for households.

These are spreads (+34%), canned fruits (+25%), alcoholic beverages (+24%), noodles and pasta sauces (+21%), lechon sauce (+17%), condensed milk (+9%), mayonnaise (+8%), and all-purpose cream (+6%).

Kantar said inflation continues to impact FMCG in terms of pack size and brand choices. In particular, households strapped for cash may downsize or buy less quantity of holiday meal staples like pasta sauces or cheese, and may choose to purchase more affordable brands of canned fruits, all-purpose cream and noodles.

While Filipinos continue to patronize sari-sari stores, they will still visit hypermarkets, supermarkets and groceries to check their options during the holiday season. According to Kantar, Filipinos still buy from sari-sari stores and they spend an average of P1,309 a month during the holidays.

This is followed by hyper and supermarkets where 7 out of 10 homes visit the channel with an average monthly spend of P1,559.

Aside from their own purchases, households will likewise make extra room in their pantry for FMCG products that they receive as gifts. These Christmas baskets or boxes usually include pasta, pasta sauce, canned meats, biscuits and other snacks, instant coffee, cheese, canned fruits, sweets and even personal care items like soap.

“Christmas is part of our culture as Filipinos, and food, gifting and spending time together are at the heart of the celebrations. Despite economic challenges, families will continue with their Noche Buena and Media Noche traditions but with compromises in their brand choices. They will continue to be more value-conscious and will review their brand choices from time to time in order to cope with rising prices and while still be able to enjoy a meaningful Christmas season,” said Nierva.

Nierva said retailers can offer value through holiday promotions or bundle packs that will help consumers save during the holidays.

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