As we approach January's money "Mawga Season," businesses are bunkering down as fewer and fewer shoppers will be spending their limited disposable income shopping in downtown Belize City.

Still, plenty of those businesses will be sailing on smoothly after the intense Christmas shopping over the last few weeks.

After 2020's lockdowns and empty streets, this year saw crowds clambering to get those Christmas time deals. Today, Courtney Menzies hit the streets to get the retail sales reviews. Here is that story.

Less than a week ago, downtown Belize City was a hub of Christmas-time activity - a stark contrast to December 2020. In a desperate attempt at some form of normalcy after another year of pandemic fatigue, shoppers were out spending and swiping.

Now, businesses are tallying up the sales and for some, the numbers look better than they have in a long time.

Mario Lopez, General Manager, Dibary Belize City
"The number of customers spoke for itself and the week before it was, what can I say, a big difference compared to 2020 which was really low and our sales, I would compare basically to 2019, big improvement this year."

"I spoke to a lot of customers and their view were completely different, first of all, they would say that this is something we had to live with, it's a norm and we just have to take care of ourselves and it was very exciting to see the faces of many customers to come in here and do their shopping, I mean things that they haven't done for a good while in that aspect."

Courtney Menzies:
"So the foot traffic in daily was a large amount, more than what you've seen before in the past?"

Mario Lopez, General Manager, Dibary Belize City
"Definitely, so we're so [grateful] to receive that traffic this year."

Umesh Mahitani, Partner, Mikado
"For us, we've always had good response, we always try to bring in a lot of new items every year, it's been a challenge over the last couple of years but we were able to get products on time and people responded well."

"I think it was a fair amount of people that came in and out and we tried our best to maintain as much social distancing as possible and I think it worked out well. Overall, I would say that we've had quite a good response from people that come and buy stuff from us everywhere so overall it was pretty good."

Courtney Menzies:
"Would you say it's a huge boost compared to last year's Christmas?"

Umesh Mahitani, Partner, Mikado
"I can't say for sure but from the amount of traffic we had I think it was not, maybe, much more, maybe slightly more but yes."

Courtney Menzies:
"Would you say it's similar to pre COVID times?"

Umesh Mahitani, Partner, Mikado
"I would say yes, similar, the way it looks at this point is similar."

But interestingly, not all businesses have had a similar experience. While electronics are usually a go-to gift, and most people were out looking for that latest gadget, Cellular World said shoppers were buying on a budget this year.

Karan Sabnani, Director, Cellular World
"Electronics is now a part of our lifestyle and what we noticed this year, people were coming out but a lot of budget buying, a lot of people were trying to get electronics but trying to budget themselves as well. We had that in mind when procuring for our season so we ensured to keep a lot of gift items that were in an affordable price range. What we also noticed is given we have our Samsung distribution, a lot of people actually joined on to the Samsung program because of the whole one year warranty so basically they shop with reliability when spending their money."

"Surprisingly I think the pent up demand with the shutdown made people spend a little bit more, this year they spent but they bought more budget friendly things. What we have seen at Cellular World, we sold more items but less figures were done because of the pricing of the figures so we definitely see a trend from 2020 to 2021 with a complete different change in the market."

And even when consumers were done with their gift shopping - and after all that ham and turkey - they spent their last few dollars on meals from their favorite restaurants over the long weekend.

Lee Mark Chang, Owner, Chon Saan Palace
"This year we've seen a very nice increase in sales I guess due to the fact that people are tired of this COVID situation but we still need to practice social distancing but we have seen an increase this year."

"There's no comparison, last year was horrible, I think it was December 15th at the peak of Christmas, they closed down all dining rooms and they only allow pick ups and deliveries and so we struggled tremendously last year and the deliveries. Weren't as much, picks up weren't as much, but this year we see a lot of park and order, you wait in your car and we've seen a lot of people use the app for delivery or pickup."

"What has really picked up for us after the turkey and ham, people had started using the app so we've seen a huge increase in our app traffic so it makes things easier, faster, quicker. So people have been using the app, they don't want anymore turkey and ham, so we have picked up a lot on our deliveries."

And while next year for "Mawga Season" you'll still be able to get that $6.00 leg with fries, going into 2022, Dibary will be keeping their prices low, while Cellular World has their annual sale planned for January and Mikado will ensure that their prices match the product.

Channel 7