Small Business Saturday is Nov. 26 this year. | Courtesy of Louisville Independent Business Alliance
Small Business Saturday is Nov. 26 this year. | Courtesy of Louisville Independent Business Alliance

Consumers are expected to dig a little deeper to spend a little more for the 2016 holiday season, which kicks off in earnest after Thanksgiving.

This year, the National Retail Federation estimates that holiday retail sales will climb 3.6 percent, to $655.8 billion. In 2015, the holiday sales rose 3 percent, to $626.1 billion, according to the group, which originally forecast a 3.7 percent increase.

“Consumers have seen steady job and income gains throughout the year, resulting in continued confidence and the greater use of credit, which bodes well for more spending throughout the holiday season,” NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz said in a news release.

Still, despite these tailwinds, unseasonably warm weather and “increased geopolitical uncertainty” could negatively impact overall retail sales, Kleinhenz added in the release.

An estimated 137.4 million people are planning to or are considering shopping during Thanksgiving weekend, according to the annual survey by research firm Prosper Insights & Analytics on behalf of NRF.

Another Prosper Insights & Analytics survey noted that, on average, consumers planned to spend $935.58 during the holidays, with six in 10 of those people planning to spend an average $139.61 on themselves.

Personal finance website WalletHub took that a step further and released projections for how much the average person in 570 different cities is expected to spend. The website’s analysts looked at the following five factors: income, age, debt-to-income ratio, monthly income-to-monthly expenses ratio and savings-to-monthly expenses ratio.

Looking at Louisville specifically, WalletHub estimated that the average Louisville shopper would spend $571, putting it 331st out of the 570 cities in terms of per-person spending. The average Louisville consumer is 37.5 years old, has a monthly income of $4,008 and pays monthly expenses of $3,168, according to WalletHub.

The majority of those dollars will be spent online or in major department stores, but the NRF holiday report states that 24 percent of consumers who said they planed to shop on Saturday added that they would be doing so specifically to support Small Business Saturday.

“It’s something that obviously all of our members promote,” Jennifer Rubenstein, director of the Louisville Independent Business Alliance, said about Small Business Saturday. “Hopefully, every year it will grow, and I do find there are more and more news stories about it every year.”

LIBA helps organize Small Business Saturday locally and tries to encourage people to buy local with its annual HoLOUdays contest, which gives people opportunity to win a $1,000 shopping spree by either sending in pictures of their receipts from local businesses. Each receipt counts as one entry to win, and the contest runs until Jan. 3.

Rubenstein told Insider Louisville that LIBA members seem positive going into this holiday season.

“I think folks are hopeful, and they really seem interested in making sure they take full advantage of promoting that they are a local and independent business,” she said. “In a way, it’s kind of just a reminder of community and your hometown roots and inclusiveness.”

Also new this year, LIBA has introduced a new electronic gift card that allows consumers to give a gift card that is good at more than 50 local stores, Rubenstein said. People who buy $100 worth of e-gift cards Nov. 22-29 will receive an additional $20 for themselves.

“It will be a nice contrast. You don’t have to buy a big megachain gift card,” she said. And “you can still participate in Cyber Monday, but keep your dollars local.”

Louisville native Caitlin Bowling has covered the local restaurant and retail scene since 2014. After graduating from the Ohio University’s E.W. Scripps School of Journalism, Caitlin got her start at a newspaper in the mountains of North Carolina where she won multiple state awards for her reporting. Since returning to Louisville, she’s written for Business First and Insider Louisville, winning awards for health and business reporting and becoming a go-to source for business news. In addition to restaurants and retail business, Caitlin covers real estate, economic development and tourism. Email Caitlin at [email protected]


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