The Florida Retail Federation is predicting a robust holiday shopping season this year, with FRF President/CEO Rick McAllister projecting a 4 1/2 percent increase in sales over 2014.
“It’s going to be a good year,” said McAllister in a statewide conference call with media outlets.
Noting that 30 percent of annual sales take place in the critical holiday shopping season of November and December, McAllister says the next 61 days are “critical” for the state’s retailers, but expects business to be brisk in major cities around the Sunshine State.
A few data points released in the call include:
- 17 billion packages will be shipped nationwide this holiday
- Shipping is projected to be up 12 percent over last year
- Florida’s consumer confidence rating is the highest it’s been in a decade
And McAllister says the top five gifts on everyone’s holiday list are actually pretty predictable: gift cards, electronics, apparel, toys and games, and food items. Star Wars, Barbie and Lego Toys will fly off shelves, as will smartphones and tablets.
Consumers are expected to spend $805 on average for gifts, up from 2014, and the highest in the 14-year history of a survey provided by FRF’s partners at the National Retail Federation. Consumer spending accounts for 75 percent of Florida’s gross domestic product totaling $155 billion each year.
One major advantage that Florida has over most other states is the influx of more than 100 million tourists, almost all of whom leave the state with more than they brought, bringing even more buying power with them. Surveys consistently list shopping as one of the top activities on the agendas of Florida vacations.
“There are some great deals out there, and we are confident,” he said.