A businessman and father of two, Teshome G. Meskel, has set aside 10,000Br for the New Year. He was shopping for his favorite brand, only available at Bambis Supermarket. He was looking for some packed foods and said he does his holiday shopping at other open-air markets. The price of some goods has increased, he claimed. He wished for peace in Ethiopia and extended holiday wishes to the family of Fitawrari Damena Sima and Desta Woldegerima.
Solomon Assefa, 45, had a plan to change his household furniture, and has been saving for a long time. Now he has managed to collect around 20,000Br for this purpose. Today in Shola, he has found a good deal - a much lower price from what he found while window shopping for the past one month. He spent 3,500 birr on a wooden closet - a good one, he said. Given his profession as a carpenter, there is no chance to miss what is good and what is not. It’s a good time to have new furniture, so we waited until the New Year, with some actually offering holiday discounts. For him, spending this much just because it is holiday is not a good judgment, since at times he gets less than that a month, and other times his income can vary 6,000Br either way. After a long time saving, however, buying during the holiday – especially New Year - feels good for him and his family.
Senait Tadesse is in her mid-forties and doing her holiday shopping with her husband - the bread winner of the house. They came to pick-out traditional clothing for the whole family. To make sure the kids’ taste is represented, they had their first born with them. The family allotted a third of their income to these traditional clothes. Things are on the rise, but not out of range, they said. They were content that they were able to get everyone in the family something for 2000Br.
Tegene Ayele, 40, was at Shola market with his wife. He saw the market tendency to increase prices as the holidays approach when he bought clothing for his three children last week, so he decided to buy his wife’s holiday clothes. From his monthly average income of 15,000Br as a crane operator, 600Br is set aside for his wife. But he is disappointed with the shop owners. He finds the price undeservedly expensive - a trend he claims to observe during holidays or alongside any instability in the country, whether related to the items they supply or not. “What does clothing have to do with the unrest?” He questions. Unlike other times, looking at the market price hike on many items, he has decided to raise his budget for the holiday up to 10,000Br. He particularly wishes a happy holiday to his mother in Wollega, whom he so much wished could be with him for the holiday.
Mebrat Berehe, a widower, 51, with two kids who were not with her, has an average of 2,000Br that her daughter sends her every month. She makes sure that she gets the basics for her and her son, who is an inmate in Shoarobit Prison. Last week was not a good one for cost. She came all the way from Addisu Gebeya to the Merakato Merab Hotel to purchase basic kitchen utensils, one big bowl and to get her son a big treat for the holiday. She was alarmed by the price hike – a bowl she had in mind and knew would sell for 14Br on average is now 25br. Though she does not have a plan B to get her son the holiday treat with, she knows that her budget of 200Br for all kitchen utensils is way below the market price. She was on her way back home. Though she is not sure how to get him a holiday dish, she used Fortune to pass on her good wishes for her son in prison and her daughter abroad.
With his tradition of getting something new for the New Year, he has saved for a while to be able to spend 5,000Br on a flat screen TV. He has done his assessment on the price and the average quote in the market has varied by around 500Br. The price is pretty much the same as what he expected, and he was happy that he could fulfil his wish. This is a big investment, as the amount he allocated was the same as his monthly income. He hopes to send peace and happiness to his mum and his country.
Tesfazgi Tadesse, 42, and his little son were roaming around the Tana Department store, assuming that this is the best spot for a wider choice and fairer price. It’s a great deal for the father to get his son something for the New Year. He would love to find something for himself too. For this, and the whole holiday shopping, a little over half of his monthly income has been set aside. He is up to take any average price the market offers and does not want to bother with calculating how much the price has increased or lowered from the last year.
At 46, Alamin Adam is a father of one and resides in the UK. He earns 60,000Br a month working as a private communications expert. With a staggering 90,000Br budget for the New Year celebration, he is looking forward to spending some quality time with his loved ones over an extended period of festivity, until the holiday spirit winds down. He was shopping at Fantu Supermarket, a store he trusts, for some packed food with a 2,500Br daily budget. He saw a slight increase in the price of things. He wished peace to the country and a happy New Year to all Ethiopians.
A proud father of a young girl, Shimelis Demise, 42, was at Shoa Hypermarket buying school supplies for his daughter. With a combined monthly income of 14,000Br with his wife, the couple, who are public servants, budgeted 5,000Br for the New Year festivity. Shimelis had already bought a sheep for 2,500Br and considers the market fair, as no major change have happened compared to last year. Some brokers, however, are spreading rumours that there is not enough supply of sheep and goats, he noted. He wished his wife, Woinishet Daba, and his daughter, Emy, a happy New Year.
A pensioner with the strong feeling of new beginnings still radiating deep in her eyes in tandem with the New Year spirit, Aster Kebede, 66, was shopping for a cooking oil at Shoa Hypermarket last week. She was not stressing about the budget for the holiday and noticed no major change in the price of butter, which sold for 160 Bra kilo – the same as last year. She also bought some teff and has well wishes for Haregewoin Kebede, Aynalem Getahun, Alula Gebre and all their children.
With a monthly income of around 18,000Br, Lalu Melese was conducting her routine shopping at Shoa Hypermarket last week. The 25-year-old was planning to spend the holiday with her family. She and her sister had already bought onions and butter for the holiday ahead. Lalu believes there is a significant hike in the price of these commodities in comparison to last year, where a kilo of butter sold for 180Br last year - now this is retailing at 230Br. She has set aside 3,000Br for the holiday and wished a happy New Year that brings peace and prosperity to all Ethiopians.
Hawa Hamdi, 32, was window shopping at Shoa Hypermarket, located in the basement of Zefmesh Grand Mall around Megenagna, early last week. Fortune caught up with her as she was comparing prices in the local market. She is making her final preparations to return home to Bahir Dar having come back from Saudi Arabia, where she currently resides. She won't be taking part in the New Year and Eid Al Adha festivities with her family here, as she has to fly back to the Middle East. But she had a budget of 12,000Br for both holidays to be shared by her family here at home. Hawa makes around 25,000Br a month and spent some money buying some clothes for her family. She thinks prices are largely similar to what is on offer in the Saudi market for most of the consumer items she looked at. She extended her holiday wishes to Hayat Hamdi, Zemzem Hamdi, Asefu Hamdi and Hamdi Ebre.
Multiple factors from climate change induced El-Nino drought and La-Nina heavy rains have at different spots affected supply chain – cattle from the north, vegetable from Meqqi and surrounding are cases that caused a sharp hike in price and shortage in supply. Anticipation and later actual delay in transportation, even when the supply stored like the case in Amhara and Oromia regions on the route to the capital caused anxiety of possible price hike and shortages. Limited forex availability too has its own market on items imported. It is in these general setting Fortune visted different market settings and talked to various people from all walks of life to say it’s not as bad as anticipated. Marginal increase is the wider perception of the people who were about to do holiday shopping.
The tradition too is still intact- people still go for new things on New year – save and wait to get basic furniture changed or bought on New year, of course most do that anticipating holiday sales specially on non- consumable.
Different assumptions dicate where are one shops & how.
Many ready for worst shopping scene are not disappointed with what they get slight increase, and fair supply.