LAHORE - Since Lahorites experiencing scorching  heat in day time for last one week, they are in a great rush in Ramazan evenings as Eid shopping picked up.

Be it the upscale market of Liberty, Packages Mall, Emporium Mall, Pace, The Mall of Lahore, Square Mall, or lower middle class shopping areas of Ichhra and Islampura neighborhoods, people are busy buying shoes, jewelery, garments and other articles for Eid celebration that marks culmination of the holy month of fasting.

 This is now end of Ramazan, and many more people are thronging  markets, shopping plazas and bazaars for the last ten days of the  month. In fact, the breezy economic activity appears to contradict Pakistan's low standing on the development index and income equality.  That mainly is due to the fact that Eid shopping is very much a cultural activity - something that is done each year during Ramazan.  But still, experts see a growing economic momentum behind shopping upsurge in several parts of the country, especially the urban centers like Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad.

 So what are people buying? Pretty much everything related to the occasion - from cuisine to dresses, apparel, shoes, fashion accessories, ornaments and traditional Henna or Mehdi. This activity is  not restricted to Lahore only. The hype in the shopping activity has  been a boon for the business community across Pakistan that, according  to some estimates, earns more profit during Ramadan as compared to the  sum total of profits reaped during the rest of the year. The online shopping through computers and smart phones is also on the rise.

A study by trade organizations puts the total value of Eid shopping  in the country is estimated at Rs1,000 billion (US $ 10 billion) this year, out which Lahoris’ shopping is estimated at Rs 150 billion.

This trend coincides with a rise in the prices of clothes, shoes and fashion accessories. The prices have registered a 20 percent increase as compared to the previous year. Economists attribute these trends to both traditional surge in prices and uptick in economic activity related to industrial, services, infrastructure development, domestic tourism, and growth of modern IT sectors. Only this week, Pakistan has found its way back into the category of emerging economies on the back of expanding GDP, remittances inflows and macroeconomic stability.

Discussions with traders and entrepreneurs revealed that the trends bode well for the country, which has to pull large populations in far-off areas out of poverty. In addition to conventional shopping like clothes, citizens are also purchasing new furniture and home appliances during the Eid season. Except for high-end brands and the imported commodities, prices are generally stated to be slightly above last year's level.

But the children's garments are expensive due to rising demand and traditional profiteering on part of sellers. According to experts, clothing, footwear, cosmetics and fashion accessories cut the biggest share of the Eid spending pie. 

Shopping  trends in all the major cities of the country suggest that the dedicated markets dealing in household items, furniture, electronics and crockery  are also doing roaring business ahead of Eid festival.

To facilitate people in shopping and giving Eidi (usually cash  and gifts) to their children and visitors, the State Bank of Pakistan has issued fresh currency notes every year.

Eid tourism is another activity that stimulates domestic economy  and generates income for the traders and businesses. Pakistanis besides visiting their native towns, also like to enjoy Eid holidays in hill resorts like Murree, Ayubia, Kalam and Naran and cooler northern parts  of the country. The Eid season also usually witnesses generous charity  and philanthropic contributions.