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Holiday spending to increase in Ohio, region

Holiday spending in Ohio is expected to grow 2 percent this year compared to 2016, bringing in an estimated $24.1 billion statewide — and people in the Dayton region are expected to spend more than last year.

The Ohio Council of Retail Merchants and the University of Cincinnati Economics Center found the state is likely to see a 9 percent increase in holiday retail spending compared to 2015. In 2016, an estimated $23.6 billion was brought in by holiday sales. In 2015, holiday sales resulted in more than $21 billion in revenue throughout the state.

The report found that robust retail sales and the state’s implementation of a tax on sales by online retailers in 2015 caused sales and revenues to increased in 2016, for the first time in a decade. The state’s largest metro areas — Columbus, Cleveland and Cincinnati — will again account for more than half of the estimated holiday retail sales.

Cleveland and Dayton are projected to experience the largest percentage increases in sales from a year ago. Dayton’s holiday sales will increase 3.4 percent, bringing in $1.7 million in revenue. Last year, holiday sales brought in around $1.6 million.

Ohio’s retail industry accounts for 18 percent of Ohio’s Total GDP, and supports 1.5 million jobs — one in four of all Ohio jobs, more than any other industry.

“As a critical indicator of overall economic vitality for Ohioans statewide, we are pleased to note that the study reports that Ohio’s total wages and salaries continue to grow and consumer confidence remains strong,” said Gordon Gough, President/CEO of the Ohio Council of Retail Merchants.

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“Online shopping continues to be a growing component of retail sales, with mobile shopping playing a larger role,” according to the report. “Non-store retail sales, which include online and mobile shopping, contributed most profoundly to positive retail sales growth in Ohio in 2016.”

Nationally, online sales are expected to surpass in-store sales this holiday season, a survey conducted by the National Retail Federation found.

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About 59 percent of consumers plan to shop online this year, while 57 percent will shop at a department store, 54 percent at a discount store, 46 percent at a grocery store/supermarket and 35 percent at clothing or accessories store. The survey found 27 percent plan to visit an electronics store, 25 percent a small or local business, and 18 percent will go to a crafts or fabrics store.

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Overall spending will also likely increase this year.

“With employment and incomes increasing, consumers are more confident this year and that is reflected in their buying plans for the holidays,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said.

NRF projects that holiday retail sales in November and December this year will be up between 3.6 percent and 4 percent for a total between $678.8 billion and $682 billion. Consumers say they will spend an average $967.13 this year, according to the annual survey conducted.

“Retailers have been stocking up in expectation of this, and all signs are that this will be a busy holiday season,” Shay said. “Retailers are preparing for a rush of consumers leading into Thanksgiving and all through December, and are offering a wide array of merchandise and promotions so shoppers can find great gifts and great deals at the same time.”

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