'Think twice about Pessah purchases'

Survey: Israelis spent 20% more on average leading up to the holiday.

Pessah 88 (photo credit: )
Pessah 88
(photo credit: )
Israelis may spend significantly more in the month leading up to Pessah than they do during the rest of year but are being advised to be discretionary in their purchasing to avoid causing themselves financial strain. According to the results of a survey released this week by the Federation of Israeli Chambers of Commerce (FICC), a rise of 22% on purchases of food, clothing, furniture and household items is expected for the month, continuing the trend of the last number of years in which Israelis spent 20% more on average leading up to the holiday, and 10% less in the month immediately following. The FICC pointed out in its report that between 2003 and 2006 the household item market spiked 143% in the month leading up to the holiday and then tended to fall off by about 55% after Pessah. The Israeli cosmetics industry is also doing brisk business leading up to Pessah, with total sales for this month expected to reach NIS 49 million, more than double the average of the other months of the year and representing growth of 10-12% above the same period from 2006, according to the Manufacturers Association of Israel. Additionally, cosmetics manufactured in Israel are estimated to account for 20% of the total sales this month, up from 10% last year. Lior Levi, the chairman of the cosmetics branch of the Manufacturers Association, attributed the growth in large part to prices discounted as much as 60%, as opposed to last year when prices were only cut 40%. "While discounted prices are obviously an attraction to consumers, the buyer must still refrain from those purchases that are beyond his or her budget or are unnecessary," said Uriel Ledberg, founder of Pa'amonim, an organization that was established with the aim of rehabilitating people in financial distress. "Pessah presents unique challenges to consumers who must abide by a strict budget, as there are certain products which must be bought, and then there are those which customers think they have to buy, such as kosher for Pessah soap," Ledberg said. "They shouldn't always assume that everything needs to be changed for Pessah." He noted that supermarket owners advertise special deals on many Pessah products but that consumers on a budget must only buy those things they need for the holiday and stay away from excesses. He also pointed out that in order to cut down on unneeded spending, consumers should try to save as many products from one year to the next instead of using something for just one week and then discarding it.