Dec. 30, 2021


2 min read

Consumer spending declines despite festive season

Consumer spending declines despite festive season

Street vendors trading along Kingway Road in Maseru

Story highlights

  • COVID-19 and joblessness are among some factors that are notably impacting small businesses.
  • The textile industry, which employs more than 40 000 people, has been mostly affected

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DESPITE the ongoing jubilant mood of the festive season, small business holders, particularly street vendors are concerned that consumer spending this year has declined in comparison to previous years.

Several street vendors complain that consumers are not spending as much money on goods and services as they used to.  

The COVID-19 pandemic and joblessness are among some factors that are notably impacting small businesses.

“Business is definitely better because we are talking about the festive season, but to be honest, things are not as good as they used to be in the past couple of years. Spending has declined a lot and some consumers are always complaining about high food prices. So things are not the same anymore,” said Thabiso Letlatsa, a street vendor who sells his ware in Maseru uptown.

He told this publication that so far, he has barely made enough to feed his family and nothing to save at all.

“A lot of people were already struggling due to the high unemployment rate, but things became worse due to the COVID-19 pandemic. So I think that is why we are also struggling despite the fact that we are all in the festive mood,” Mr Letlatsa added.

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With unemployment figures in the country already high at around 24 percent, thousands of people also lost their jobs due to the impact of the pandemic. The local textile industry, which employs more than 40 000 people, has been mostly affected. As a result, many have also started overloading the streets with the establishment of their own small businesses, another reason why gains may have gone down due to increased competition.

The recovery could depend on the rebound of the textile and apparel industry as many people would go back to their old jobs and leave the streets.

The economic shocks that follow the COVID-19 pandemic come at a time when the sector is already struggling from the aftereffects of demonstrations and other declining economic indicators.   



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