Lahore, April 29
Economic uncertainty in Pakistan has taken a significant toll on Eid-related spending, which was down by 40 percent, reported a Pakistan-based daily.
According to a report in The Express Tribune, the amount spent on Eid in 2023 was around Pakistani Rupee (PKR) 432 billion, which was the lowest amount in ten years.
This is significantly less than the previous high of PKR 1.1 trillion in 2018 and even less than the PKR 480 billion spent in 2021 amid the Covid restrictions.
However, some analysts believe that consumer spending would have decreased even if the economy weren’t in freefall, as consumers engaged in a form of retail therapy last year after two years of Covid restrictions.
However, there was a noticeable decrease in foot traffic in shopping areas because people did not even feel like window shopping for fear of overspending on an impulse purchase, according to The Express Tribune.
Online shopping, however, partially made up for the decline in sales. Inflation was cited as the largest offender and special criticism was leveled against the rising price of popular and previously affordable imported goods like children’s clothes, which saw prices rise even more disproportionately than in other areas as a result of the rupee’s freefall.
Due to issues with the local textile industry, there was not a sufficient local supply to satisfy the demand for affordable clothing, as per The Express Tribune.
The decline in clothing demand is also emblematic of what was happening in other industries. After all, those who cannot afford new shirts are not likely to go out and upgrade their homes, their vehicles, or even just their phones and household items.
In that regard, the jewelry industry was among the hardest hit, with many store owners noting a decline in walk-in customers and a significant increase in trade-in sales as consumers attempted to reconcile their desire for new jewelry with their reduced ability to spend.
One of the few positive findings was that charitable donations remained relatively high as a percentage of overall, with wealthy and upper-middle-class Pakistanis going above and beyond to assist those in need.
Unfortunately, charity alone won’t be enough to keep the country alive. People who work hard should be able to benefit from their labor rather than seeing it rapidly lose value, The Express Tribune reported.