Several Countries Spend More than 50% Their Monthly Income on Christmas, finds WorldRemit study

 Holiday Costs in 14 Countries: Rwanda Spends Highest Percentage of Annual Income, finds WorldRemit study

  • Majority of Rwandan households spend nearly 60% of annual income on Christmas costs
  • Six countries observed – Rwanda, Cameroon, Nigeria, Mexico, Lebanon, Philippines – spend 100% or more of monthly income on Christmas

 LONDON, 30 November 2021 — The holiday season is here! Around the world, families are making plans to celebrate the season with unique traditions, once-a-year meals, gifts and more.

In line with this exciting time, WorldRemit conducted a multi-country study1 to determine the true cost of Christmas in 14 countries, mining data to showcase the average costs of traditional Christmas meals, decorations and gifts.

Of the 14 countries observed, data showed Rwandans are most impacted by the disparity between average household income and holiday costs, spending 708% of their monthly income and nearly 60% of their annual income on the holiday.

Meanwhile, Filipinos spend 257% of their monthly income on the holiday. In the region, Christmas celebrations begin in September and extend into January, making it challenging for many families to afford the basic costs of Christmas. Without remittances into countries like the Philippines, celebrating Christmas would be near impossible.

More than 244 million people are classified as immigrants around the world and account for large percentages of populations in countries like the United States (14.4% of total population)2, UK (9%)3, Australia (30%)4 and Canada (21.5%)5.

During the holidays, immigrants and overseas foreign workers are often unable to celebrate with their families in-person, and find themselves working to support not only themselves, but also their families and communities back home.

Christmas is one of the primary reasons immigrants and migrants send money back to their home country. Because of the high cost of coveted seasonal items, food, and the overall impact COVID has had on supply chain and inflation, it is vital for remittance senders to be able to support those dearest to them by helping make Christmas a reality for their loved ones6.

For example, of the 14 countries observed that typically receive remittances, 10 spent more than 50% of their monthly household income on the holiday. A holiday that would be impossible without remittances, the season of giving becomes vital, where the world’s largest send markets typically only spend less than 3% of their annual income on the holiday.

To learn more about the study and see full results, visit:


 Notes to Editors:


In the study, WorldRemit looked at the following 14 countries and researched basic Christmas Costs – including the main holiday meal, average gift spend and decorations.

  1. United States of America
  2. United Kingdom
  3. Canada
  4. Australia
  5. France
  6. Philippines
  7. Mexico
  8. India
  9. Kenya
  10. Lebanon
  11. Rwanda
  12. Cameroon
  13. Nigeria
  14. Uganda

 The Christmas items were selected based on desk research of typical Christmas meals, gifts and decorations. We then researched the average price of each item for an average family on an average income. The prices were researched online in late October 2021 – November 2021. Prices and breakdowns of what is appropriate for Christmas celebrations in each country were then shared with locals of that country who we hired to validate the data as correct.

The exchange rate from the local currency was calculated on Monday 5 November. The percentage figures are percentages of the overall budget in the local currency.


  1. WorldRemit. Cost of Christmas (2021 – Quarter 4)
  2. United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division (2015). Trends in International Migrant Stock: The 2015 Revision. (United Nations database, POP/DB/MIG/Stock/Rev.2015).
  3. UK Parliament, House of Commons Library: Migration Statistics (2021, Quarter 2).
  4. Australian Bureau of Statistics: Migration, Australia (2021, Quarter 2).
  5. Statista: Immigration in Canada: Statistics & facts (2021, Quarter 3).
  6. The Economist. Wiring home for Christmas: remittances and the Philippines (2020, Quarter 4).


About WorldRemit

We’re a leading global payments company and, along with Sendwave, part of Zepz, a group powering two global payments brands.

We disrupted an industry previously dominated by offline legacy players by taking international money transfers online – making them safer, faster and lower-cost. We currently send from 50 countries to recipients in 130 countries, operate in more than 5,000 money transfer corridors worldwide and employ over 1,200 people globally.

On the sending side WorldRemit is 100% digital (cashless), increasing convenience and enhancing security. For those receiving money, the company offers a wide range of options including bank deposit, cash collection, mobile airtime top-up and mobile money.

Backed by Accel, TCV and Leapfrog – WorldRemit’s headquarters are in London, United Kingdom with regional offices in the United States, Poland, Canada, Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines, South Africa, Somaliland, Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Zimbabwe and Belgium. 

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