Holiday spending in Alabama should near $18 billion, growing 5 percent from last year’s record-shattering spending, according to the Alabama Retail Association.
Alabamians spent 15.4 percent more during November and December 2021 than they did during the same period in 2020, which was the highest holiday growth rate ever for the state.
Through October 2022, taxed sales in Alabama had grown 8.4 percent over the same 10 months in 2021, based on Alabama Revenue Department abstracts. October taxed sales grew almost 9 percent compared with October 2021.
As the Alabama Retail Association projected earlier this year, sales have continued to grow in Alabama, just at a slower pace than the increase the state saw in 2021. Growth was at 8 percent in the first quarter; 7 percent in the first half of 2022; and back above 8 percent in the third quarter.
A 5-percent growth rate in the traditional holiday spending months would put taxed spending at $17.9 billion in Alabama. In the final two months of 2021, Alabamians spent $17 billion. Holiday retail sales have grown an average of 4.9 percent annually over the past 10 years, according to the National Retail Federation.
Alabamians continue to spend, shop early
Alabama consumers have not stopped spending in the face of inflation and higher prices, notes the association: “But they continue to shop smarter and shop 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.”
“We don’t depend to heavily on any one month” out of the year, says George Wilder, owner of The Locker Room, a men’s clothing retailer with locations in Montgomery and Auburn. Still, he said, “holiday business is certainly important to us. The gift-giving season represents about 16 percent of our annual sales.”