Dia de los Muertos Mexico

Back from the Dead: Día de los Muertos Stimulates Economic Growth in Mexico

Día de los Muertos is an important cultural celebration for Mexicans, but this year the holiday is especially important for the economic revival of Mexico. Many small businesses selling items related to the festivities suffered last year when the pandemic restricted Día de los Muertos celebrations. With less restrictions this year, small businesses in Mexico are expected to see unprecedented growth in sales compared to last year. 

The holiday is expected to generate an economic spill of 4,000,000,000 pesos within Mexico City, and sales from the marigold flower alone are expected to generate 1,000,000,000 pesos. Many of these sales will come from small businesses, aiding those most impacted by the pandemic. These 4 billion pesos in Día de los Muertos related sales is key to the economic recovery of small businesses throughout Mexico.


Economic Impact of Día de Los Muertos. Credit: Latina Republic and Michael Davis.


“The celebration of the Day of the Dead , considered Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, also marks one of the most important dates of the year in terms of wholesale and retail sales where all economic sectors from primary to tertiary, as well as their value chains are involved.”-Fadlala Akabani Hneide (Head of the Ministry of Economic Development)

Small businesses in stationary and bakeries are expected to have a large increase in sales during the celebrations. The celebrations will have a widespread impact on various industries. Fadlala Akabani Hneide stated “Micro and small businesses also benefit from the economic synergy that marks the Day of the Dead, in addition to the fact that the agricultural sector highlights the historic production of more than 2.8 tons of marigold flowers.”

Mexico is expected to host 1,400,000 tourists during Día de los Muertos. As Covid-19 restrictions have relaxed, more tourists will be able to travel to Mexico to enjoy the festivities. These tourists will give the economy a major boost as they will spend money buying items for the celebrations from local businesses. Hotels in Mexico are estimated to be 70% to 85% occupied, sparking economic growth for tourism.


Economic Impact of Día de Los Muertos. Credit: Latina Republic and Michael Davis.


Tourists will also be key to helping to revitalize the restaurant industry within Mexico City. Enon Martínez owns a restaurant called “El Cardenal” in Mexico City and said “We hope that we will have an influx of visitors like before the pandemic, that more foreign and national visitors will come to visit the Historic Center and come to eat at the Cardenal.”

Once the government announced that cemeteries would be open for the celebration, the declaration sparked major economic promise for small businesses selling flowers, plants, and ornaments. In Mexico City there are 4,561 small businesses related to these items that will enormously benefit from sales during the holiday.

“From October 29 until November 2, the tours that will register the greatest dynamism for the Day of the Dead will be food, flower shops, costumes and makeup; ornaments, alcoholic beverages, lodging, and self-service shops. As well as places of entertainment such as shopping malls, cinemas and museums, candy stores, bakeries and flower shops, as well as restaurants, bars and canteens.” –Nathan Poplawsky (President of Canaco).


Flower farmers were affected in 2020 with cemeteries closed. Credit: TheWorld.


As many small businesses in Mexico have been struggling recently to return to previous sales levels, Día de los Muertos this year provides them with an opportunity to greatly increase their sales. It will serve as a catalyst in economic growth and hopefully will propel many businesses back to previous sales levels. 

“Despite slow economic growth this year, the expansion of activities related to the Day of the Dead is expected to impact sales beyond expectations and in a greater number of visitors to the country’s capital.”-Nathan Poplawsky (President of Canaco)

Working Toward Complete Economic Restoration

Although the 2021 celebrations will spark major economic growth within Mexico, sales levels and hotel occupancy rates are going to be less in 2021 compared to 2019. Sales of items related to the celebrations are expected to be 26% less in 2021 compared to sales levels in 2019. 


Economic Impact of Día de Los Muertos. Credit: Latina Republic and Michael Davis.


The national alliance of small merchants estimates that most small businesses will recover at least half of their 2019 sales levels. Although it is not 100 percent, the sales related to the celebrations are an important stepping stone for long term economic recovery. After suffering from a lack of sales in 2020, many small businesses need the increase of sales in 2021 to keep their stores open. 

Día de los Muertos sales this year is the beginning of small businesses’ journey to economic recovery. Fadlala Akabani Hneide described “The recovery of the economic dynamics of all the productive sectors of the capital is evident, a situation that will improve towards the end of 2021.” Día de los Muertos is the beginning of long term economic recovery within Mexico.


Día de Los Muertos Celebration during 2020. Credit: Buzzfeed.


The celebrations also impact a wide variety of industries within Mexico. Although these industries will not reach 2019 sales levels, the collective growth of all these industries at once will provide significant positive economic growth as a whole in Mexico. 

While we appreciate the cultural significance Día de los Muertos plays in Mexico, this year we also can enjoy the economic impact that the holiday will have. Small businesses throughout Mexico will be celebrating a return to normalcy and economic recovery from holiday related sales this year.


Michael Davis | Tulane University

Michael Davis is a current undergraduate student at Tulane University studying Finance and International Relations through the Altman program in International Studies and Business. His interest in Latin America began when he took his first Spanish class in 6th grade. Since then, Michael has traveled throughout Latin America learning about entrepreneurship, policy, and globalization. He is interested in sharing the stories of young entrepreneurs who work to expand development within Latin America. He believes their stories can inspire others and reshape the narratives of Latin America. In Latina Republic, he is excited to highlight these voices in his stories to deepen his own understanding of Latin America as well as his readers. He looks forward to inspiring innovation with his stories through Latina Republic!