WASHINGTON — Americans are seeing green this month and it isn’t just the color associated with St. Patrick’s Day, but how much money is expected to be spent on the holiday.
That was the conclusion of the National Retail Federation’s annual St. Patrick’s Day spending survey released Tuesday.
Prosper Insight & Analytics, which conducted the survey for the NRF, projected that more than 125 million people plan to celebrate the Irish holiday on March 17.
Total spending for the holiday is expected to hit $4.4 billion, with each person spending an average of $35.37, down slightly from $36.52 a person last year. The analysis was based on a survey of 7,108 consumers aged 18 years or older and ran from Feb. 2 to 9.
According to the survey, 56.5 percent of those celebrating will buy food and beverages, 28 percent will buy apparel or accessories, 23.3 percent will buy decorations and 17.2 percent will buy candy.
“Retailers expect to see a nice boost in sales as consumers head to stores looking for apparel, decorations, food and beverages to help make their St. Patrick’s Day celebrations special,” said Matthew Shay, president and chief executive officer of the NRF.
The survey found that the holiday is most popular among individuals 18 to 24 years old, with 70.1 percent celebrating. But those 25 to 34 years old will be the biggest spenders, at an average of $42.58.
Asked where they plan to buy St. Patrick’s related goods, 30.4 percent said they will buy at discount stores, while 18.1 percent said they will make a purchase at a department store and 5.7 percent said they will buy at a specialty clothing store. In addition, 6.8 percent said they will make a purchase online and 9.1 percent said they will buy at a local small business. Some 36.2 percent will make a purchase at a grocery store and 20.8 percent will do so at bars and restaurants.
“St. Patrick’s Day isn’t a holiday for giving gifts, but it is a time for inexpensive and fun celebrations that make it easy for consumers of any age and on any budget to take part in the festivities,” said Pam Goodfellow, principal analyst and consumer insights director at Prosper. “Whether they’re heading to a parade, cooking an Irish meal or joining friends at a bar or restaurant, consumers will take the opportunity to get festive and celebrate.”
According to the survey, 82.1 percent of people who plan to celebrate the holiday said they will wear green to “show their Irish pride,” while 31.3 percent plan to make a special dinner, 28.7 percent plan go to a party at a bar or restaurant and 21.1 percent plan to attend a private party. Another 22.8 percent said they plan to decorate their homes or offices in an Irish theme.