Florida merchants remain on track for a very merry Christmas and happy holiday season.
The Florida Retail Federation predicts a 4.5 percent increase in holiday spending and says sales so far bolster that predication.
“With so many positive economic indicators driving Florida’s economy, particularly our 10-year low unemployment rate, we expected this holiday shopping season to be robust, and so far it’s exceeding our expectations and those of our members,” said R. Scott Shalley, Federation president and CEO.
“We were worried about what the record high online spending during the Thanksgiving holiday stretch would mean for December, but with stores full of shoppers and millions of online orders being filled each day, it looks like our strong start may be met with an equally strong finish.”
The National Retail Federation reported that between stores and online shopping, spending jumped 40 percent this year between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday (a period that includes Black Friday and Small Business Saturday).
While that type of explosive surge to start the holiday shopping season hasn’t been maintained in the weeks since, sales are still up 4.3 percent year-over-year nationally and up 5 percent for all of 2018 to date.
Consumer surveys show shoppers expect to spend $1,007.24 on average this year, according to the NRF. That’s up from an estimated $967 last year.
And in Florida’s economy, consumer spending plays a tremendous role. The Sunshine State serves as home to 270,000 retailers, who in turn employ 2.7 million state residents.
According to FRF, consumer spending accounts for 75 percent of the state gross domestic product, totaling $155 billion each year.
Any increase in holiday spending, which accounts for 20 to 40 percent of annual sales for Florida retailers, will also come on top of a lucrative Halloween season.
The federations report some $9 billion in nationwide spending on that increasingly consumer-driving holiday.