Sometimes playing catch-up can be fun. If predictions hold true, that is exactly what’s in store for Mansfield and Richland County retailers this holiday season as sales increase faster than any other metro area in Ohio.

Each Thanksgiving week, the University of Cincinnati Economics Center, together with the Ohio Council of Retail Merchants and Focus on Ohio’s Future, publish an economic forecast for the upcoming shopping blitz.

As noted above, the news is quite rosy for north central Ohio.

In its report, the UC Economics Center shared the following overall findings:

  • The Economics Center forecasts a 3.2 percent increase in Ohio retail spending for the 2018 holiday season relative to the 2017 season, with total sales of $24.9 billion.
  • Holiday retail spending in Ohio in 2018 is expected to be 5.3 percent higher than in 2016, when consumer confidence shot upward toward the end of the year, and 13.0 percent higher than in 2015.
  • The Economics Center forecast is more conservative than national forecasts, reflecting a continued moderation of holiday retail sales growth in Ohio following a large (7.4%) increase from 2015 to 2016 that greatly outpaced that seen at the national level (3.6%).
  • Full-year retail sales in Ohio have exhibited sustained and robust growth over recent years, but the growth has been distributed across the calendar year and not limited to the holiday season.
  • Ohio’s key economic indicators have shown no signs of weakening over the past year.
  • Real wage and salary growth continues to be positive along with employment growth.
  • Meanwhile, overall U.S. consumer confidence has continued to rise.
  • Online shopping continues to be a growing component of retail sales, with mobile shopping playing a larger role. Growth in non-store retail sales, which include online and mobile shopping, greatly exceeded overall retail sales growth in Ohio in 2017.
  • The Economics Center projects that the State’s three largest metro areas will again account for well over half of estimated retail sales this holiday season.
  • Economics Center forecasts indicate that all of Ohio’s metro areas will enjoy holiday retail sales growth in 2018 over 2017.
  • Mansfield, Toledo, and Cleveland are projected to experience the largest percentage increases in sales from a year ago.

Here are the projected rates of increase for retail shopping this season:

  • Columbus 1.9%
  • Cleveland 3.8%
  • Cincinnati 1.9%
  • Dayton 3.0%
  • Akron 0.8%
  • Toledo 4.6%
  • Youngstown 3.0%
  • Mansfield 8.0%
  • Lima 1.1%

Mansfield’s rate is almost double that of the next closest area, Toledo. In an Associated Press article, writer Dan Sewell stated that “…Mansfield should rise nearly 8 percent, but that central Ohio area had previously been lagging behind.”

The full report can be accessed here.

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