Contrary to claims that Christmas shopping was poor, 72.1% of market women and men sampled in four major markets in the Greater Accra Region, namely, Makola, Agbogloshie, Tema Station, and Kaneshie Markets, in December 2019, said Christmas shopping was better compared with the preceding years. Only 27.9% of respondents said business was not good.
The 27.9% who said business was not good, however, added that sales picked up in the final week of December 2019, and their sales were appreciably good. Unlike their compatriots who said business was good, 27.9% of the market women and men were concerned with the initial slow pace of the shopping season., and not necessarily because business was altogether poor for them.
Three recurring answers run through the responses of most respondents to explain why they think business was good.
First, respondents said that sales have been steady throughout the year. They maintained that hitherto, they have had to depend on an excellent Christmas shopping to tell if business has been good or bad, but in 2019, the market was reasonably steady. This finding is insightful because it shows that judging business performance solely on account of active Christmas shopping may be erroneous and misleading.
The claim of steady business throughout the year seems to find support in the general macroeconomic performance in 2019. For instance, the low average inflation rate in 2019, and the reported quarterly expansion in the economy may have contributed to increasing the purchasing power of Ghanaians, hence the steady rise in consumption throughout the year.
The second widely cited response is increased online transactions and delivery services. The majority especially, those who run stores, said some consumers do not necessarily come to the market to shop these days. Several respondents said they advertised their wares on online portals, including their Facebook and Instagram, to attract customers, and that has increased their sales.
Finally, respondents suggest that the Year of Return may have impacted their fortunes. However, they did not say much about how the Year of Return may have directly influenced their businesses, but it is possible to deduce a probable positive impact if we consider the interconnectedness of tourism inflows to the rest of the economy.
To the extent survey research is accurate and given the rigorous research design and method employed by the Danquah Institute, in collecting and analyzing the data, we are significantly confident in the finding that the 2019 Christmas business for the majority was considerably better compared with preceding years.