By Kaitlin Hoskins, News Editor
Holiday spending in Alabama is projected to reach $18.75 billion this year, which is a four percent rise from 2022.
Alabamians spent 5.6 percent more during November and December 2022 than they did during the same period in 2021.
In addition to an increase in spending, Alabamians may be preferring smaller, locally-owned businesses instead of bigger, franchised retail stores.
Downtown Gadsden, Inc. (DGI) director Kay Moore is encouraging residents of Gadsden to shop locally all-year-around, but especially during the holidays.
“We know that in today’s hectic world, it is nice to be able to take a leisurely stroll through a retail store to find the perfect gift,” Moore said. “Or enjoy walking down the sidewalk and spot something in a window that is exactly what you need for that special someone. When you shop local, you are supporting your neighbor and your investment in their business is reinvested in our community. We depend on our local businesses and they depend on us.”
The Alabama Retail Association is continuing its “#ShopAlabama” campaign and is encouraging consumers to shop with local retailers in their communities.
“The stores down the street or around the corner support your community in big and small ways daily,” said Alabama Retail Association President Rick Brown. “By shopping with retailers based in your community or our state, you contribute to the health of your local and state economies.”
Gadsden Mayor Craig Ford hopes the trend of shopping locally continues for Gadsden businesses.
“Small businesses are the backbone of our community,” Ford said. “The owners are your neighbors, friends and family. You will be amazed at the variety of excellent Christmas gifts available in downtown Gadsden and in businesses throughout the city. We are blessed with a strong commercial business industry, and shoppers can find anything they want or need at a Gadsden-grown business if you just look. We are looking forward to a banner year for Gadsden’s small businesses, and hope families enjoy their products this holiday season and beyond.”
Through August 2023, taxed sales in Alabama had grown 5.5 percent over the same eight months in 2022, based on figures from the Alabama Revenue Department.
The Alabama Retail Association projects that sales will continue to grow in Alabama through the end of the year, with the pace of growth slowing to four percent and possibly 3.5 percent depending on another interest-rate hike and government budget uncertainty.
A four percent growth rate in the traditional holiday spending months would put taxed spending at $18.74 billion in Alabama. In the final two months of 2022, Alabamians spent $18 billion.
Alabama Retail Association’s holiday growth prediction is for all taxed sales, including those from remote sellers.
“Alabama consumers have not stopped spending in the face of inflation and higher prices, but they continue to shop smarter and earlier,” a statement from the Alabama Retail Association read. “Looking for the best deals for their holiday purchases, consumers everywhere continue the trend of stretching their shopping budget out over a longer period. Many began holiday shopping as early as August, while others made a sizable dent in October.”