LINCOLN–(KFOR Nov. 24)–Friday marked the beginning of deals offered by retailers for holiday gifts and there are indications of more spending happening this year compared to a year ago.

Rich Otto with the Nebraska Retail Federation tells KFOR News the national retail federation is predicting an increase of 3 to 4% in spending.

“Here in Nebraska, we’re optimistic that we’ll meet or exceed that, potentially up to 5% higher than last year due to our low unemployment,” Otto said.

Small Business Saturday will feature local retailers having more deals and fun activities, according to Otto.  Now that state taxes are applied to online shopping deals, Otto says that will also have a great impact on the local economy.

“Convenience and Cyber Monday is definitely something that going to stick around,” Otto added.  “We want on consumers locally to spend there and the state is consuming those tax dollars.”

But Otto highly recommends taking advantage of the deals offered by local retailers this holiday season, which includes gift cards that can be purchased.

The next five to six weeks are crucial for many local businesses, as they are likely going to be making half or sometimes more than half of their annual revenue during the holiday shopping season, according to Lincoln Chamber of Commerce president Jason Ball.  For people hosting family in-town for the holidays, it’s a great chance for them to experience local shops and businesses for great deals.

“Nine times out of ten, you’re going to think of a locally-owned, unique business.  An experience they can’t get in the city they live in,” Ball told KFOR’s Morning News.

Details about the Shop Local guide is at the Lincoln Chamber of Commerce website.