Over 7,000 retailers in Ohio are expecting a slight increase in sales this holiday season over last year, though where those spending increases are projected may be a surprise.
For the eighth year in a row, Ohioans are expected to spend more this holiday season than the previous year.
The Ohio Council of Retail Merchants is predicting $25.3 billion will be spent this holiday season, a 0.8% increase over last year and lower than the national spending forecast. Spending in Columbus, however, is expected to be down by 1%.
“Labor market indicators including wages and employment remain strong. However, consumer confidence has declined over the past year and remains susceptible to uncertainty," said Megan Heare with the University of Cincinnati Economics Center, which conducted the research.
Mansfield is expected to see a 6% increase, the biggest in the state, with smaller jumps in Akron (0.2%), Dayton (0.7%), Toledo (1.5%) and Youngstown (2.7%).
Spending is projected to be unchanged in Lima and down in Cincinnati (-1.3%) and Cleveland (-0.1%). However, Ohio's three biggest cities will still comprise 53.9% of all holiday spending.
While online and mobile shopping has grown in popularity, researchers say new sales tax requirements put into place by the state budget this summer on Amazon and other internet retailers could benefit brick-and-mortar retailers.