If predictions hold true, it will be a happy holiday season for Mansfield and north central Ohio retailers when sales increase faster than in any other metro area in Ohio.

Each late November, 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, with the Mansfield area predicted to have the largest percentage increase in sales among the state’s metropolitan areas.

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

  • The Economics Center forecasts a 3.4 percent increase in Ohio relevant retail spending for the 2022 holiday season relative to the 2021 season, with total sales of $31.3 billion.
  • Full-year relevant retail sales in Ohio have exhibited sustained growth over recent years. Relevant retail sales during the first half of 2021 experienced substantial growth compared to the first half of 2020, however, relevant retail sales during the second half of 2021 experienced smaller gains compared to the second half of 2020.
  • Online shopping continues to be a growing component of retail sales, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Growth in nonstore retail sales, which includes online and mobile shopping, exceeded overall retail sales growth in Ohio in 2021 compared to 2020.
  • Ohio’s labor market indicators have improved since the second half of 2020, corresponding with the COVID-19 pandemic recovery, however, employment in Ohio during Q3 2022 remains 0.2 percent less than pre-pandemic levels in Q1 2020, or approximately 29,400 fewer jobs. Conversely, wages and salaries in Ohio have increased 12.3 percent between Q1 2020 and Q2 2022.
  • Overall, U.S. consumer confidence has increased between December 2020 and October 2022, however, several months over this time-period have been marked by negative month-to-month changes in consumer confidence. Consumer confidence has partially recovered from the COVID19 pandemic but remains below the peak experienced in February 2020.
  • Inflation in the Midwest has been increasing at higher rates since 2020. Inflation in the Midwest increased by 6.6 percent between October 2020 and October 2021 and increased by 7.4 percent between October 2021 and October 2022. To curb rising inflation, the Federal Reserve has raised interest rates four consecutive times leading to the highest interest rates since 2008.
  • The Economics Center projects that the State’s three largest metro areas will again account for more than half of estimated relevant retail sales this holiday season. Economics Center forecasts indicate that all nine of the metro areas analyzed in Ohio will experience an increase in holiday relevant retail sales in 2022 over 2021.

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

  • Columbus – 2.7%
  • Cleveland – 3.8%
  • Cincinnati – 0.2%
  • Dayton – 5.3%
  • Akron – 8.2%
  • Toledo – 11.0%
  • Youngstown – 10.5%
  • Mansfield – 17.5%
  • Lima – 4.9%

Mansfield’s rate is substantially higher than that of the next closest area, Toledo.

The full report can be accessed here.

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