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Study: Money really does buys happiness in Tampa Bay

Tampa Bay and Miami made the list of best places in the country for retail therapy.

  • By Louis Llovio
  • | 1:00 p.m. March 26, 2024
  • | 2 Free Articles Remaining!
Report finds that Tampa Bay and Miami are among the best places in the country for retail therapy.
Report finds that Tampa Bay and Miami are among the best places in the country for retail therapy.
  • Tampa Bay-Lakeland
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If the key to happiness in your life is spending money, Florida is the right place to live.

That’s according to a new report from StorageCafe, a self-storage search website that is part of the property management software firm Yardi.

The report, Best U.S. Shopping Hot Spots, places two Florida metropolitan markets atop its list of the places with the greatest overall shopping experiences. It is the only state to have two separate metro markets make the list.

Topping the overall list of best shopping experiences is the Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West-Palm Beach market.

While that is a not a big surprise, No. 10 on the list may be.

It is Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater.

According to the report, the Tampa Bay market has more than 3,400 retail establishments totaling 174 million square feet of space. That translates to 53 square feet for every resident.

And the retail industry employs about 54,000.

All that translates into residents spending on average $9,100 — 13% of their household income — shopping.

This means, the report’s authors write, people in Tampa turning to shopping for retail therapy are among the happiest.

It’s not only about the amount of retail space in the area, they write: “It is also about (the area’s) purchasing power and lively atmosphere, as well as the availability of store personnel to enhance the shopping journey and more. Collectively, these elements contribute to an unforgettable experience.”

The authors write that these factors lead to relative happiness by pointing to a 2023 Consumer Affairs survey which says “consumer habits showed that people may engage in retail therapy as frequently as four times a month, with 66% acknowledging that shopping and spending have the power to significantly change their mood.”

As for Miami, the study found it has 8,891 retail establishment translating to 1.45 stores for every 1,000 people and 19.6 employees per 1,000 residents.

Those people, though, spent less than people living in Tampa. The study found that Miami area residents spent $7,600 annually on retail, about 10.7% of local household income.



Louis Llovio

Louis Llovio is the commercial real estate editor at the Business Observer. Before going to work at the Observer, the longtime business writer worked at the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Maryland Daily Record and for the Baltimore Sun Media Group. He lives in Tampa.

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