Israelis to spend NIS 3.8b on Pessah shopping [pg. 15]

Spending by the average household will increase by 20 percent during the Pessah holiday period amounting to a total of NIS 3.8 billion according to estimates by the Federation of Israeli Chambers of Commerce. The average household will shop for a total of NIS 2,000 of goods between April 9 and April 19, out of which on average nearly half or between NIS 700 and NIS 1,000 will be spent on food and beverages. This compares to a questionnaire survey carried out by the Zahav Shopping Mall in Rishon Lezion, which found that 23% of Israelis will spend NIS 1,000 on average, while 4% will spend less than NIS 100. About 10% expect to spend between NIS 1,000 and NIS 1,500, about 13% over NIS 1,500 and 18% other amounts, according to the Zahav survey. Pessah shoppers questioned by Zahav say they will spend 75% of their money on food products, 12% on clothing and footwear, 2% on wine and spirits, 2% on cosmetics, 2% on house appliances, 1% on cleaning products and 6% on other items. About one-third of Israelis, or 34%, will spend one to two hours on pre-Pessah shopping the Zahav survey found. Just over one-fourth, or 27%, will commit two to four hours to shopping and about 25% will spend half an hour to one hour. The survey found that 14% spend more than four hours, while 14% of the 501 interviewed said they would not shop at all for the holiday. Gil Gazit, general manager of the Zahav Shopping Mall, said that of the non-shoppers, 23% were men and 7% women. The survey also found that there were more non-shoppers from the Haredi community, at about 18.2% compared with 13.7% from the secular community. Gazit said this phenomenon was due to the fact that more people from the religious community will celebrate the holiday in hotels than will people from the secular community. However, of the those shoppers who will spend more than 4 hours making their purchases, the study found that 20% are from the Orthodox community and 8% are secular shoppers. Among those spending more time shopping, the number of women doubled the number of men. Meanwhile, the Manufacturers' Association of Israel reported that about 40% of kitchen appliances sales (with an annual volume of NIS 300 million) are being realized just before the Pessah holiday period. Israelis have bought more than 180,000 pots for NIS 30m., the Association said, an increase of 5% compared to the Pessah holiday period last year. Israeli households also have bought 95,000 cutlery sets at a total value of NIS 22m., an increase of 10% over last year. About 50% of the cutlery purchases are from foreign manufacturers. Cutlery export sales, mainly to Europe fell by 50%, amounting to $1.5m. over the past year, the group said. The Association also found that Israelis love to renew their bed sheets, bedding and tablecloths for the Pessah holiday. Sales for bedding increase by 80% on the eve of Pessah compared with annual average sales. Bedding sales are at NIS 62m., a 10% rise to last year. Tablecloth sales increased by 15% compared with the same period last time reaching a volume of NIS 15m. Tablecloth imports from Europe and third countries, in particular from India and China, rose by 40% over the past year due to the relaxation of import regulations, which represents a big blow to the domestic market. Also during the month of the Pessah and Easter holidays, the Flowers Growers Association expects to sell 150 million flowers. About 90% of the flower sales will be international with only 10% expected to be made to the domestic market. The Flowers Growers, however, have been putting much effort in recent years into developing the local market, where they still see much potential, to which they say, increased Russian immigration has played an important part. Because private consumption constitutes a major catalyst for economic growth, Uriel Lynn, president of the FICC, said the new government should work towards improving the purchasing power of low-wage earners by reducing their tax burden. In addition, the FICC survey findings revealed that average spending on all consumption other than food stands at NIS 2b. during the 10-day holiday period. About 15% is spent on fuel and public transportation, 30% on culture and entertainment, 20% on outdoor dining, 22% on international travel and 10% on vacation treatments.