Kenyan households spend 54% of monthly income on Christmas costs

With the holiday season kicking off, families around the world are making plans to celebrate the season with unique traditions, once-a-year meals, gifts and more. In line with this exciting time, global payments company WorldRemit conducted a multi-country study to determine the true cost of Christmas in 14 countries, mining data to showcase the average costs of traditional Christmas meals, decorations, and gifts.

Kenya was one of the 14 countries observed. The study showed that the majority of Kenyan households spend over half (54%) of monthly income on Christmas costs.

Rwandans are most impacted by the disparity between average household income and holiday costs, spending 708% of their monthly income and nearly 60% of their annual income on the holiday.

Six countries observed – Mexico, Lebanon, Philippines, Cameroon, Nigeria, Rwanda – spend 100% or more of monthly income on Christmas, meaning most households must dip into savings, borrow, or receive support from friends and loved ones abroad through remittances to celebrate Christmas. Without remittances into these countries, celebrating Christmas would be near impossible.

More than 244 million people are classified as immigrants around the world and account for large percentages of populations in countries like the US (14.4% of total population), UK (9%), Australia (30%) and Canada (21.5%).

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.

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 has had on supply chain and inflation, it is vital for remittance senders to be able to support those dearest to them by helping make Christmas a reality for their loved ones.

For example, of the 14 countries observed 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.

In the study, WorldRemit looked at the following 14 countries – US, UK, Canada, Australia, France, Philippines, Mexico, India, Kenya, Lebanon, Rwanda, Cameroon, Nigeria and Uganda – and researched basic Christmas Costs – including the main holiday meal, average gift spend and decorations.

The Christmas items were selected based on desk research of typical Christmas meals, gifts and decorations. The analysts then researched the average price of each item for an average family on an average income. The prices were researched online in late October 2021 – November 2021. Prices and breakdowns of what is appropriate for Christmas celebrations in each country were then shared with locals of that country who we hired to validate the data as correct.


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