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How Much Will Houstonians Spend this Holiday Season?

Published Nov 17, 2022 by A.J. Mistretta

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At 2.4 million square feet, the Galleria is the region's largest shopping complex

The holiday season is upon us, but amid inflation worries and a potential recession on the horizon, will Houstonians spend as much this year on gifts and seasonal purchases?  

Sales totals in the City of Houston are up 13.6% so far this year based on sales and use tax data released by the Texas Comptroller’s Office. However, with inflation up 7.6 percent locally, it’s unclear whether consumers are actually buying more goods or simply paying more for the same items or fewer.  

The retail trade association ICSC estimates that consumers will spend 6.7% more this holiday season than last year. The ICSC survey found that roughly 75% of respondents plan to begin their holiday shopping earlier this season and 43% said they’re looking for deals and promotions. A different report from the professional services firm PwC found that 74% of shoppers plan to spend the same or more than they did last year. Overall, consumers plan to spend an average of $1,430 on gifts, travel and entertainment this year, close to what they spent in 2021, according to the PwC report. But that’s up 20% over pandemic spending in the 2020 holiday season.  

Houston’s retail market is fairly healthy, having recouped all of the jobs the sector lost in 2020 and opening hundreds of new outlets over the last two years. The metro retail market absorbed more than 500,000 square feet of space in Q3 and absorption year-to-date totals 2.8 million square feet, according to the commercial real estate firm Colliers. Limited available space is helping push rental rates up, climbing 2% over the last year.  

Discretionary spending like what occurs during the holidays has a lot to do with consumer confidence. Nationally, confidence has slipped in the most recent monthly reports, thanks in part to recession fears. But Houston’s job growth has proven resilient, with 14,800 jobs created in September, the most recent data available. Thirteen of the 18 major industry sectors in metro Houston tracked by the Texas Workforce Commission had fully recouped their pandemic losses as of September.  

While how much Houstonians will buy this season remains to be seen, it’s clear they will be paying more for whatever they purchase. Take the Thanksgiving meal, for example. Turkey and trimmings for 10 to 12 of your nearest and dearest will cost 20% more this year than in 2021, according to a survey from the American Farm Bureau Federation

 

 

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Report: Houston's Strong International Ties Better Position Regional Economy for Global Economic Headwinds

5/12/23
HOUSTON — Houston’s trade ties with its global partners have largely recovered from the impacts of the pandemic, according to the Greater Houston Partnership’s latest Global Houston report.  The analysis documents how Houston’s international activity in 2022 continued to set records: The Houston-Galveston Customs District continues to rank first in the country in tonnage handled (exports and imports) with over 382.8 million metric tons. For the first time in history, the Houston-Galveston Customs District ranked first in total value with $372.6 billion, which typically ranks second behind Los Angeles/Long Beach. Exports topped $191.8 billion, well above the previous record of $140.8 billion set in 2021. Foreign direct investment (FDI) is back at pre-pandemic levels and continues accelerating. The Partnership documented 44 business expansions from companies headquartered overseas in 2022, up from 33 in 2021. In 2020, only 13 non-U.S. firms announced plans to expand or relocate operations in the region. International migration surged to 47,400, accounting for the largest share (38%) of the region’s population growth in 2022. International air traffic continues to edge closer to pre-pandemic levels. The Houston Airport System handled 10.4 million international passengers in 2022, up from 7.3 million in 2021 but still below the pre-COVID peak of 12.0 million in 2020.  The Port of Houston set a record for container traffic, handing nearly 3.2 million loaded TEUs (twenty-foot-equivalent units), a 17.9% increase over 2021. “The international metrics demonstrate Houston’s ties global economy continues to strengthen, positioning the region for continued growth despite global economic headwinds,” Partnership Chief Economist and Senior Vice President of Research Patrick Jankowski said. According to the report, the ongoing war in Ukraine, persistent inflation, and rising interest rates are key factors that continue to be speedbumps to growth but are not considered outright obstacles. “Any slowdown caused by macro forces will likely impact Houston only marginally,” Jankowski said. “Houston’s economy will continue to expand, create jobs, and attract new residents to the region.”   Other data included in the report reflects Houston’s influence as a global business hub:  Houston has trading relationships with more than 200 countries. The value of exports via the district has exceeded imports every year since 2013. Over 1,700 foreign-owned firms have an office, factory, distribution, or service center in Houston.  Nearly 150 Houston-headquartered companies operated subsidiaries outside the U.S.  Another section of the Global Houston report provides additional statistics and information about Houston’s international business ties and ranks the region’s top 20 trade partners. The value of goods and services traded increased among all leading partners in 2022, continuing the trend of growth. Top 10 Houston trade partners and the value of trade in 2022:  Mexico -- $32.1 billion, up from $21.6 billion in 2021. China -- $31.9 billion, up from $24.8 billion in 2021.  South Korea -- $24.6 billion, up from $16.2 billion in 2021.  Brazil -- $20.1 billion, up from $16.8 billion in 2021.  Netherlands -- $19.1 billion, up from $13.4 billion in 2021.  United Kingdom -- $16.4 billion, up from $9.9 billion in 2021. India -- $15.7 billion, up from $13.9 billion in 2021. Germany -- $15.0 billion, up from $12.0 billion in 2021. Japan -- $14.4 billion, up from $11.5 billion in 2021. Singapore -- $13.6 billion, up from $5.9 billion in 2021. View the trade profiles report here.  ### Greater Houston Partnership  The Greater Houston Partnership works to make Houston one of the best places to live, work and build a business. As the economic development organization for the region, the Partnership champions growth across 12 counties by bringing together business and civic-minded leaders who are dedicated to the area’s long-term success. Representing more than 950 member organizations and approximately one-fifth of the region’s workforce, the Partnership is the place companies come together to make an impact. Learn more at Houston.org.   CONTACT:           Brina Morales                                                 Director, Communications      bmorales@houston.org       (c) 832-287-5089             
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