Americans plan to spend a record $5.9 billion to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day this year, according to the annual survey released this week by the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics. That’s the highest level in the survey’s 14-year history, up from last year’s previous record of $5.3 billion.
“With winter hopefully winding down over the next few weeks, consumers are ready to start celebrating spring with St. Patrick’s Day,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said in a prepared statement. “The holiday falls on a Saturday this year, so Americans will have more time to splurge a little as they get together with friends and loved ones for a day of festivities.”
The survey found over 149 million U.S. adults plan to celebrate the March 17 Irish holiday, up from last year’s approximate 139 million. Consumers are expected to spend an average of $39.65 per person, up from last year’s previous record of $37.92. The holiday is most popular among individuals 18-24 years old, with 77 percent celebrating, but those 35-44 will be the biggest spenders at an average of $45.76.
According to the survey, 83 percent of those celebrating will wear green, 31 percent plan to make a special dinner and 27 percent will head to a party at a bar or restaurant. Twenty-seven percent will also decorate their homes or offices in an Irish theme and 16 percent will attend a private party. In addition, 15 percent plan to attend a St. Patrick’s Day parade and 9 percent will host a party.
“Compared to other spending holidays, St. Patrick’s Day is less about giving gifts and more about having fun with friends and family regardless of the budget,” Prosper Executive Vice President of Strategy Phil Rist said. “With more Americans celebrating the shamrock-filled day, we expect consumers will enjoy their favorite green beverage and apparel, attend events around their community and decorate their homes with lucky four-leaf clovers.”
The survey found 50 percent will purchase food, 41 percent beverages, 31 percent apparel or accessories, 26 percent decorations and 16 percent candy. Of those making purchases, 38 percent will go to grocery stores, 31 percent to discount stores, 20 percent to department stores and 19 percent to bars or restaurants.
The survey, which asked 7,657 consumers about their St. Patrick’s Day plans, was conducted February 2-13 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.1 percentage points.