The respondents said they intended to spend an average of 2,503 Singapore dollars (Bt62,000) each, down by 11 per cent from last year’s budget of S$2,805.
About 500 people aged between 18 and 55 years old were polled from November to December on their behaviour and attitudes for the upcoming Chinese New Year, which is on January 28.
UOB economist Francis Tan said the belt-tightening for the festive period was not unexpected in view of the lower wage growth last year and the expectation of slower economic growth in the next 12 months.
The survey found that four in five of those surveyed expected the economic situation in Singapore this year to be the same as or worse than 2016.
“Although Singaporeans are planning to spend less this Lunar New Year, it is heartening to see that the majority want to uphold traditions such as reunion dinners and the giving of red packets,” Tan said.
Spending on food is expected to increase by 7 per cent over the last year to S$521 – almost half of which will go towards celebrating a reunion dinner with loved ones.
Tan said the desire to treat their families did not appear to have been hampered by the higher food prices.
The increase in food cost is mainly due to factors including poor weather conditions that have affected food supply, as well as a weaker Singapore dollar, which made it more costly to import food.
“Food plays an important part in the way Singaporean families bond with one another, and festive dining would definitely be higher in the pecking order during Lunar New Year celebrations. It is not surprising to see that people are continuing to focus on food during the festive period,” Tan noted.
Singaporeans are also not penny-pinching on the tradition of giving red packets – this will make up almost a quarter of the total budget, the survey found.
UOB said parents and parents-in-laws would receive the highest amounts in their red packets this year, at S$358 and S$264 respectively.
Similar to last year, more than three out of four respondents indicated that they would save the money they receive in their red packets, while 16 per cent will invest it.
Published : January 13, 2017
By : THE STRAITS TIMES ASIA NEWS NETWORK SINGAPORE