The University of Cincinnati Economics Center has released its annual Holiday Forecast of Ohio Retail Spending, and the numbers look positive indeed for north central Ohio.

Overall findings included the following:

  • The Economics Center forecasts a 1.54 percent increase in Ohio retail spending for the 2016 holiday season relative to the previous year.
  • The Economics Center forecast is lower than national forecasts, potentially due to a shift in consumer preferences to entertainment and experiences over goods.
  • Over time the share of sales and use tax revenues accounted for by the retail sector in Ohio has declined.
  • Economic indicators for the state show stability, but not necessarily substantial growth over previous years. While employment is increasing, total wages and salaries are growing at a slower pace. Consumer confidence remains strong, but close to 2015 levels.
  • Online shopping continues to be a growing component of retail sales, with mobile shopping playing a larger role. Online and mobile shopping provide consumers electronic access to a wide array of vendors, allowing them to be more informed before they enter a store.
  • Competition for consumer loyalty has increased, with brand recognition and philanthropic preferences playing a role.
  • The state’s three largest metro areas account for more than half of estimated retail sales this holiday season, with modest growth projected. Smaller areas of the state are anticipated to experience higher growth rates.

The last point above is reflected in specific sales forecasts for regions of the state. Those numbers show that Mansfield is projected to have the second highest increase in Ohio over 2015 sales:

Columbus: 3.1%
Cleveland: 2.1%
Cincinnati: 3.0%
Dayton: 1.7%
Akron: 2.1%
Toledo: 0.5%
Youngstown: 6.2%
Mansfield: 4.9%
Lima: 3.3%

The study concludes, “Factors influencing the Ohio forecast include steady employment growth, moderated by slower income growth. Consumer confidence remains strong but shows little increase from 2015. Similarly, household budgets benefit from a stronger housing market, which may be partially offset by slightly rising household debt. Online sales continue to grow, but retail sales overall comprise a smaller share of Ohio sales and use tax revenues than other industries. Indicators suggest a steady holiday spending season within the state, with slower growth than recent years.”

The full report is available here.

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