Florida TaxWatch Economic Commentary
Florida retail sales outpace the nation
Florida retailers are expected to exceed 2013 holiday sales this year.
November marks the beginning of the holiday season and the start of retailers’ busiest days of the year. This year, Florida holiday sales are expected to be better than those in 2013, according to the Bureau of Economic and Business Research at the University of Florida.1 This is good news for Florida, since retail trade is the third-largest employer by industry, and general sales taxes make up 74.2 percent of the state’s General Revenue.2
Florida Outpaces the U.S. in Retail Growth
Since 2011, taxable retail sales have been very positive for Florida. During this time, retail sales in Florida have been growing faster than in the nation as a whole, and last year alone, Florida added retail jobs at a faster rate than any other state.3 One of the reasons for this boom is the third year in a row of record tourism in Florida. International tourists often spend substantial amounts during their visits, taking home the latest fashion items and other goods, contributing sales and use taxes on nearly $76.1 billion in purchases in 2013.4
Six Retail Categories Contribute the Most to Sales and Use Tax Revenues
From September 2013 through August of this year, six retail categories contributed 55 percent of sales and use tax revenues. Of the total of $21.3 billion, $3 billion was collected on vehicles, followed closely by collections on miscellaneous merchandise, which is a catch-all category for retail purchases not included in other categories.
|State Sales Tax Collections|
|Automotive Dealers, Tags, & Tax Collectors||$3.0 Billion|
|Miscellaneous Merchandise||$2.9 Billion|
|Restaurants and Catering||$2.1 Billion|
|Leases on Commercial Real Property||$1.4 Billion|
|Accommodations and Lodging||$1.2 Billion|
|Food & Beverage Stores||$1.1 Billion|
|Total - All Categories||$21.3 Billion|
|Source: Florida Department of Revenue Data.
*September 2013 - August 2014. Most recent data available.
1 University of Florida BEBR. “Florida Consumer Sentiment Index.” October 28, 2014.
2 Florida Office of Economic and Demographic Research. Results of the August 7, 2014 General Revenue Estimating Conference.
3 Forbes. “Naples, Austin Head List of Best Cities for Job Growth.”
4 ICSC Retail Report. August 2014