MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WIAT) — Holiday spending in Alabama this year is expected to hit $18.75 billion, a 4% increase from last year, according to the Alabama Retail Association.

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Even with concerns over inflation and higher prices, the Alabama Retail Association says a lot of shoppers are not cutting back. The national average for a family’s holiday spending this year is nearly $900, according to the National Retail Federation.

That includes gifts, decorations, food and other seasonal items.

“They’re continuing to spend at a pace that is above last year, but it is a slower pace than it has been in the last couple of years,” Alabama Retail Association Director Nancy Dennis said.

Dennis said many people are shopping earlier this year and taking advantage of deals when they can.

“We’ve really seen this shift in the emphasis on Black Friday, we’re really talking about Black November now. So stores have started sales, so you’ll see Black Friday sales probably every Friday, starting this Friday,” Dennis said.

Dennis also said the tax rebates next month should boost holiday sales. Individuals who filed taxes in Alabama in 2021 will receive $150, and married couples who filed jointly will receive $300.

However, some shoppers don’t plan to increase spending this year, like Lana Calvert. On Thursday, she shared her plan while shopping for her three daughters at Sephora.

“We do three gifts each and then stocking stuffers, and we’ll probably keep it about the same as last year,” Calvert said.

The holiday shopping season is considered to be November and December. During those two months last year, Dennis said Alabamians spent about $18 billion.