Holiday shopping begins: Alabamians expected to spend more

Published 8:35 am Wednesday, November 1, 2023

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Holiday spending in Alabama should near $18.75 billion, growing 4% from last year.

Alabamians spent 5.6% more during November and December 2022 than they did during the same period in 2021.

Through August 2023, taxed sales in Alabama had grown 5.5% over the same eight months in 2022, based on the Alabama Revenue Department abstracts.

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Alabama Retail projects that sales will continue to grow in Alabama through the end of the year, with the pace of growth slowing to 4% and possibly 3.5% depending on another interest-rate hike and government budget uncertainty.

A 4% growth rate in the traditional holiday spending months would put taxed spending at $18.74 billion in our state. 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. 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.

The Alabama Retail Association continues its #ShopAlabama campaign and encourages 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.”

Consumers Not Just Looking for Gifts; Food is Big Seller

While toys, big screen TVs and the latest gadgets get a lot of buzz, a sizeable chunk of the nearly $900 the average family plans to spend this holiday shopping season will be on candy and food, according to a National Retail Federation consumer survey.

Punta Clara Kitchen on Alabama’s Eastern Shore began making its fruitcakes, a holiday favorite, in August this year to meet demand through November. They started then to “get ready for the big rush that’s coming,” Kim Pacey Clay, president and manager of the family business told Alabama Retailer magazine.

The holiday season is our busiest time at Ashley Mac’s,” Ashley McMakin says in the cover story of November issue of Alabama Retailer. Besides buying holiday staples at the grocery store, consumers are buying more and more ready-made or heat-and-serve meals like those offered at Ashley Mac’s Kitchen.