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Study forecasts 3.4% increase in Ohio holiday shopping spending compared to 2021

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Stores are expecting to see a 3.4% increase in spending during this holiday season compared to the relative spending during the same season last year.

The total economic revenue forecasted for Ohio retailers from October through December is $31.3 billion. That projection is the tenth year for consecutive growth but a drop in growth compared to the forecasted increase in spending of 7% during the 2021 holiday season, in comparison with 2020 numbers.

Brad Evans, University of Cincinnati’s Economics Center research director, noted that inflation and labor market conditions continue to cause a potential hamper on retail spending.

“Coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic we still have not recovered all the jobs that were lost and our wages in Ohio, we lost more wages relative to the nation and they’ve been slower to rebound,” said Evans.

Evans said inflation grew 6.6% from October 2020 through October 2021 and then increased another 7.4% from October 2021 through October 2022.

“I think this year is a little bit muted but again I think we’ve, we’ve got some headwinds we’re facing within the economy in terms of inflation and some of the other concerns regarding recession,” Evans said.

The report was prepared for the Ohio Council of Retail Merchants.

Gordon Gough, Ohio Council of Retail Merchants’ president and CEO, said business owners are doing what they can to adjust to the challenges. That included adopting a comprehensive approach to shopping, where stores are offering a variety of options.

“Online and brick and mortar and the third rail that was really added during the pandemic is order online and pick up curbside. So, all of those different models are being utilized by both large and small retailers,” said Gough.

Despite the projection being lower than previous holiday season growth, Gough still touts that it's still growth.

“As the tenth consecutive year of predicted growth in Ohio holiday sales, this shows continued stability in Ohio’s economy as we continue to recover from the pandemic and re-center our economy on the needs of the 21st century," Gough said.

Gough added that Black Friday sales and offers continue to begin earlier in the season as competition grows, with some discounts starting in mid-October.

Contact Andy at achow@statehousenews.org.