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Christmas Market 2020

According to the Councillor for Economic Promotion, Marisol Garmendia, with data compiled by the Sociedad de Fomento, between 11 December and 6 January (the first and last day of this year"s market), 128,345 people entered the market on the Paseo del Urumea through the entrance on the María Cristina Bridge. This is a lower number than the same period a year ago. In Plaza Ramón Labayen, the drop was greater, with 46,593 people. At this point, the absence of the fir tree-shaped merry-go-round, a major attraction for families in previous editions, was noted.

This is to be expected and understandable, given the limited mobility, the reduction in the number of stalls and Christmas attractions, and the strict security and capacity controls in place. However, even in this context, sales per exhibitor have improved by an average of 8%.

The busiest day was Sunday 13 of December, a day when the weather was fine, which encouraged many curious citizens to get to know the contets of the market. The stalls on the Paseo del Urumea were visited by maximum of 11,698 people that day, and 4,450 in the Plaza Ramón Labayen.

In general terms, the busiest days were the weekends, especially Saturdays and also, although to a lesser extent, the eve of Christmas Eve and New Year Eve. On the other hand, there was a significant drop in the number of people on December 25th and January 1st .

On no day did the stalls on the riverside promenade exceed the maximum permitted capacity of 587 people, while the stalls next to the María Cristina hotel did at times, as they were smaller and had a limit of only 43 people. 

Differences between posts

«The attitude of the people was very respectful of the measures adopted and the security of the controlled areas was not endangered at any time," says Garmendia, who adds that the real-time occupancy information provided at the entrances as well as on the market website "made it easier for both visitors and security personnel to keep occupancy at safe levels».

For its part, the 49 exhibitors that were present last year, including commercial, gastronomic and food stalls and foodtrucks, have gone down to just 32 this 2020. Also, this year the market has lasted fewer days and the Immaculate Conception long weekend has been lost. It is therefore logical that the total turnover has fallen compared to the figure for the previous Christmas fair.

However, if we compare the same period of time, we can see that the average turnover per exhibitor was 8% higher than 12 months ago, which is equivalent to 495 euros more per stand (from 6,283 to 6,779 euros). In other words, although there were fewer visitors, they spent more money.

However, the distribution is far from equal. This edition has once again seen a polarisation in the turnover of the exhibitors. The one with the highest turnover was located on the Paseo del Urumea with 21,268 euros and the one with the lowest was located in Plaza Ramón Labayen, with 1,464 euros.

There is a loyal audience in San Sebastian that could be the basis of the turnover.

The limitation of visitors from other autonomous communities or from France, as a consequence of the pandemic, seems not to have had the negative effects that the City Council and the Sociedad de Fomento initially feared. And all of this, as the figures seem to suggest, thanks to the loyalty of the San Sebastian public.

Thus, although the total turnover has fallen compared to last year, the average turnover of each exhibitor has grown by 8%. "This is both very positive and surprising", says Marisol Garmendia, Councillor for Economic Promotion. "It reflects the fact that there can be a loyal public at the Christmas market, which is the basis of the turnover, without there being so much dependence on assistance from outside", she adds.

There were fewer market days than in 2019, fewer exhibitors and there were no attractions such as the Ferris wheel, the fir tree merry-go-round or the toboggan runs. Even so, the balance is satisfactory in terms of how the local public has responded according to the records. Garmendia points out that Lur Kolektiboa, the organisers of the craft fair, had already told them that the restriction on mobility, preventing the public from other provinces from attending, did not affect them as the customers were from San Sebastian. "We may be in this scenario", says the socialist councillor.

In this sense, he affirms that the data provided by the counting and capacity control system has helped to know the evolution of the influx on each of the days and to work towards the safety of exhibitors and the public; both, Garmendia assures, «they have left happy and have thanked us for the service and treatment we have given them».