For Immediate Release                                                          Contact: Jon B. Hurst, President

November 22, 2021                                                                  617-523-1900 ext. 120 Office

617-699-2110 Cell

                                                                                                    [email protected]




RAM Launches #BuyInMA Promotion


Boston — The Retailers Association of Massachusetts (RAM) is predicting 6% increase in local holiday shopping sales based upon a survey of their membership. RAM’s 6% prediction for holiday sales is lower than the national projections of 8.5%-10.5% by the National Retail Federation (NRF).  


In an effort to boost holiday sales, RAM was joined by Governor Charlie Baker and Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito in launching a holiday consumer awareness campaign on Monday to promote the importance of spending in the local economy. 


“Much of the Massachusetts economy relies on all of us doing our part, so we need to shop like jobs depend on it, because they do,” said Governor Charlie Baker.  “By choosing local, you’re sustaining jobs in your community.”


“We are asking Massachusetts’ holiday shoppers to remember that where they invest their dollars makes a big difference in the local economy,” RAM President Jon Hurst said. “We are asking consumers to commit to investing a good portion of their spending budgets right here in our communities.”


“The local retail shops and restaurants across the Commonwealth are what help make our communities so vibrant and unique,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “Shopping local is more important than ever, as we all work to recover from the challenges of the past two years.”


“Buying local is an important way that residents can help their local communities, and we are proud to partner with the Retailers Association of Massachusetts to remind people to support their local Main Street shops this holiday season,” said Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy.


The #BuyInMA advertising campaign consists of radio and digital ads, which will in turn suggest consumers visit, featuring promotions and savings from local stores and restaurants.  With consumers representing 70% of the economy, the campaign is designed to remind shoppers that it is economically important to spend locally. 


The radio campaign will run for two weeks on radio stations across the state and compliment the digital effort. (Click here for audio file of the :30 second spot that starts today.)


The #BuyInMA Campaign will promote local shopping opportunities for participating shops and restaurants.  The radio and digital ads, coupled with the promotion, Small Business Saturday campaigns, as well as targeted local Main Streets and chamber of commerce education efforts, will all combine to remind consumers of the importance of spending some of their gift budgets with local employers.


“With unlimited options available to our consumers, it is more important than ever that advocates for local employers all work harder to protect, promote, and preserve our Main Streets and our important local shopping districts.  We have enjoyed them for hundreds of years in New England, and we need to make sure they exist for generations to come,” Hurst said.


Hurst noted that 60% of the membership now reports selling online, vs 50% one year ago, and only 26% during the 2019 holiday season.  “The acceleration of online offerings and sales by smaller sellers has been apparent during the COVID crisis,” Hurst said.  “Main Street has worked overtime to meet their customers where and how they wanted to be served during these challenging and evolving times.”   Overall online sales nationally during this holiday season are projected to reach 25% of sales; but for smaller RAM members, internet sales are expected to make up approximately 5% of their total holiday sales, showing the continued reliance and importance of in-person shopping.   


“Real progress has been made in a matter of months on digital promotion, marketing and online sales for Main Street businesses, many of which were clearly behind larger national competitors.  In addition to online options, our members are fully embracing and offering other consumer service options from by appointment only shopping, to curbside pick-up and delivery.  These investments and new consumer service models would have otherwise taken years to establish and will undoubtedly continue to exist long after the health and economic crisis has passed,” Hurst said.    


Holiday sales for the 2020 season increased a robust 9% in Massachusetts due to pent up demand from COVID related slower sales earlier in the year. Past holiday season sales in the Commonwealth have increased by 3.9% in 2019, 4% in 2018, 3% in 2017, dropped by -1% in 2016, rose by 4.7% in 2015, 3.4% in 2014, 3.3% in 2013, 2.8% in 2012, by 5% in 2011, and by 7% in 2010, after dropping three years in a row during the Great Recession:  -1% in 2009; -7% in 2008; and by -1% in 2007.      


The holiday sales season historically represents on average 20% of annual retail sales, with some stores seeing 25-30% of their sales during the period.  November and December retail sector sales in Massachusetts (excluding restaurants, auto sales and gas) typically total approximately $21.25 billion.  According to the NRF, national holiday sales are projected to hit approximately $843.4-$859 billion in 2021. 


The RAM member holiday survey also noted that inventories for the 4th Quarter were up 4.1% vs. ’20.  Payroll costs for members were up 6.7% vs. prior year.  And members ranked their top three challenges for the season as: 1. Inflation, 2. Inventory delays, and 3. Staffing shortages. 


RAM is a statewide trade association of 4,000 retailers and restaurants of all types and sizes.  The retail sector in Massachusetts employs 600,000 people, or 17% of all jobs.