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Ohio holiday shoppers are expected to spend more on stuff this year than in 2020

 The blue Christmas tree at Easton Town Center in Columbus
Karen Kasler
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The blue Christmas tree at Easton Town Center in Columbus

Ohioans are expected to spend more than $31 billion this holiday season, up 7.3% from last year. That forecast comes from researchers hired by the Ohio Council of Retail Merchants.

“The Economics Center is forecasting a 7.3% increase in Ohio relevant retail spending during the 2021 holiday season compared to 2020," said Megan Heare, researcher at UC Economics Center.

Because the forecast is focused on retailers, this doesn’t includes “experiential spending” on dining, sporting events, travel and movies.

Heare said Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati will capture more than half of Ohio’s holiday spending, but said there will be growth in all nine metro areas of Ohio. Dayton and Mansfield are forecast to have higher growth rates than the overall state rate.

Director of Research Christopher Nicak said higher wages are part of the predicted $2 billion in relevant retail spending growth over the last year, and higher prices are a part of it too.

“While inflation is certainly contributing to some of the increase in this nominal growth, we certainly would not suggest that inflation is all of the growth," Nicak said

Holiday spending in 2020 in Ohio was $29.3 billion. In 2019, it was $27.5 billion, more than the predicted $25.3 billion.

Ohio Council of Retail Merchants President and CEO Gordon Gough says workforce and supply chain issues are a big concern – but Nicak suggests e-commerce could be a reliable substitution for in-store shopping.

Copyright 2021 The Statehouse News Bureau. To see more, visit The Statehouse News Bureau.