Florida retailers expecting a very merry Christmas
Image via AP.

Black Friday Holiday Shopping
More enthusiasm, higher spending plans, earlier shopping starts.

The 2021 holiday spending season should bring record joy to Florida stores, the Florida Retail Federation says.

Merry Christmas. Happy Hanukkah. Gleeful Kwanzaa. Jolly Festivus. Indeed.

Florida’s statewide trade association for retail stores said Monday that nationally retailers are expecting an increase in sales of between 8.5% and 10.5% compared with 2020. That should work out to $843 to $859 billion in holiday retail sales, smashing the record $777 billion that holiday shoppers spent the year before, according to the National Retail Federation.

The spending increase also looks to be a record one-year jump.

The National Retail Federation says its national survey indicates that 90 percent of shoppers enthusiastically plan to participate in winter holiday celebrations this year.

The survey asked 7,921 consumers about winter holiday shopping plans. The survey was conducted Oct. 1-10 and has a margin of error of 1.1 percentage points.

Now if Florida shoppers will look toward the federation’s slogan this year, “Find it in Florida.”

“Florida shoppers are delighted to spend time with family and friends this holiday season,” Scott Shalley, President and CEO of the Florida Retail Federation, said in a news release Monday. “Our retailers are ready and here to help you have the best shopping experience as you browse for gifts, decorations and everything you need for your holiday celebrations. We encourage shoppers to Find it in Florida when gearing up for the holidays.”

Each shopper is projected to spend $998 this season, according to the survey. That includes $648 for gifts, $231 for nongift items related to the holidays such as decorations, food, candy and cards, and $118 on other nongift purchases.

And the shopping spirit is starting earlier than ever.

Nearly half of shoppers surveyed by the National Retail Federation — 49% — say they began browsing or buying before November. That’s the highest percentage the federation has ever tracked, and compares with 42% last year and 39% in 2019.

What do people want? Gift cards. The federation’s survey said 46% of people wanted gift cards. After that, clothing and accessories are on 47% of gift lists; books and other media, 32%; electronics, 26%; home decor, 23%; personal care, 20%; jewelry, 20%; home improvements, 16%; and sporting goods, 16%. (Toys usually are addressed in a separate survey.)

A majority of shoppers — 57% — expect to shop online. After that, shoppers next favorite market will be in department stores, 47%; discount stores, 44%; grocery stores, 43%; clothing and accessories stores, 30%; and local retail stores or small businesses, 24%.

So, the National Retail Federation expects retailers will hire between 500,000 and 665,000 seasonal workers. That compares with 486,000 seasonal hires in 2020.

Scott Powers

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at [email protected].


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