State holiday spending to near $15 billion; October sales up 14% thanks in part to early shoppers; plenty of shopping left to do

Holiday sales in Alabama could grow by double digits for the second year in a row.

Alabamians spent 11.6% more during November and December 2020 than they did during the same period in 2019, which was the highest holiday growth rate on record for our state.

Through October 2021, taxed sales in Alabama have grown almost 17.8% over the same 10 months in 2020. For the three most recent months with numbers available, sales growth has been 12.12%.

As much as an 11% growth in 2021 holiday sales in Alabama over the traditional holiday spending months of 2020 could clearly happen. In early predictions, national economists estimated holiday sales would grow about 7% this year. The National Retail Federation forecasts holiday sales during November and December will grow between 8.5% and 10.5% over 2020.

NRF predicts highest holiday retail sales on record
NRF economist: Holiday shopping could beat forecast despite inflation and COVID-19

Seven percent growth would place taxed spending in Alabama in the last two months of the year at $14.796 billion, while 11% growth would put that total at $14.802 billion.

Either way, record spending in Alabama for the holidays is a given.

As they did last year, Alabamians began their holiday shopping in October to ensure they could get the gifts they wanted and have them arrive on time. Overall October sales in our state were up almost 14%. Nationally, half of holiday shoppers said they started browsing and buying before November.  Through Cyber Monday, the majority of shoppers reported almost half of their planned purchases have yet to be made. Because of the pandemic, manufacturing and delivery of goods continue to take longer than is optimal. The key is to plan ahead and shop early.

If you see something, go ahead and get it or take advantage of layaway,” recommends Ginger Milligan, owner of Fantasy Island Toys in Fairhope. George Jones, owner of Snoozy’s Kids in Mountain Brook, agrees: “If you see something, jump on it, wrap it and be done. You’ll be glad you did, because when you come back it might not be here.”

Nearly 180 million shop over Thanksgiving holiday weekend (NRF, Nov. 30, 2021)
October retail sales grew as consumers got early start on holiday shopping (NRF, Nov. 16, 2021)

Consumers plan to spend almost $1,000 ($997.73) on gifts, holiday items and other non-gift purchases for themselves and their families, according to the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics’ annual survey. Thanksgiving weekend shoppers spent an average of $301.27 on holiday-related purchases, NRF said.

Holiday spending reflects continued consumer demand

Alabama consumers, like the rest of the nation, will shop more in store this year than last, and they are expected to spend more on travel and entertainment this holiday season than last year.

Alabama Retail advocates that shoppers #KeepTheCheerHere by buying from retailers based or operating in Alabama as part of its Shop Alabama for the Holidays campaign. Take time to thank your local retailers for stocking their shelves as quickly as possible, contributing to the local economy and continuing to support their communities.

Retailer Features

Holiday Shopping News:

This holiday sales prediction will be updated as the state reports tax collections each month and national sales numbers become available.

#KeepTheCheerHere #ShopAlabamafortheHolidays

The Alabama Retail Association represents retailers, the largest private employer in the state of Alabama, before the Alabama Legislature and the U.S. Congress. Through sales of food, clothing, furniture, medicine and more, our 4,300 independent merchant and national company members touch almost every aspect of daily living. Since 1943, we’ve worked to promote what’s best for the retail industry in Alabama. Whether voicing the retail view when public policy is made, educating members about issues that impact them, negotiating rates for benefits and services or communicating the retail story, the Alabama Retail Association and its members are better together.

Nancy King Dennis | 334.551.0643 | 334.868.2195 (c)| 800.239.5423

Originally posted 10:43 a.m. Oct. 18, 2021