Americans to Stock-​Up on Patriotic Merchandise; Travel to Increase during Holiday

According to the National Retail Federation's 2010 Independence Day Consumer Intentions and Actions survey, conducted by BIGresearch, nearly 144 million Americans or 61.9% of adults over 18 years old will celebrate the holiday the traditional way by attending or hosting a cookout/​barbeque or picnic, which is the about the same as in 2009 (62.6%).

The survey also found 98 million, or 42.4% of adults over 18 will watch fireworks or attend a community celebration, compared to last year's 42.7%. More than 28 million (12.2%) will attend a parade and 27 million (11.5%) will travel or take a vacation.

"There's no better past time than enjoying Independence Day with family and friends," said NRF President and CEO Matt Shay. "Summer promotions and sales on beach wear, picnic food and accessories should bring Americans into the stores and out of the heat as they prepare for their holiday festivities, especially with many families still relying on strict budgets."

Independence Day is big business; more than 123 million people (60.8%) already own an American flag and nearly 86 million (41.9%) own patriotic apparel such as a t‑shirt or hat. More than one-​quarter (27.3%) of consumers own patriotic decorations.  As July 4th approaches, 16.2% of consumers will head to stores to buy new patriotic merchandise, up from the 14.1% who were expected to shell out extra money for apparel, decorations or accessories in 2009.

"Fortunately for many people this Fourth of July, gas prices won't be what hinders a trip to the beach or other vacation spot," said Phil Rist, Executive Vice President, Strategic Initiatives, BIGresearch. "Consumers this year may open up to the idea of traveling to be with family or heading out of town for a little R&R over the holiday weekend, something they may have hid from the last two years."

AAA predicts the number of Americans traveling this Fourth of July holiday weekend will increase 17.1% from 2009, with approximately 34.9 million travelers taking a trip at least 50 miles away from home. Last year, 29.8 million Americans traveled during the same period. The 2010 Fourth of July holiday travel period is defined as Thursday, July 1 to Monday, July 5.

In addition, trips by automobile are expected to increase in popularity with 90% of travelers, or 31.4 million people, reaching their destination by driving. This is an increase of 17.7% from last Fourth of July when 26.7 million travelers went by motor vehicle. AAA expects the national average price of self-​serve regular gasoline to be between $2.70-$2.80 per gallon during this Fourth of July holiday weekend. Leisure air travel also is expected to grow slightly with 1.56 million holiday flyers expected. This would be an increase of 8.2% from one year ago when 1.44 million flew. Trips by other modes, including rail, bus and watercraft, will be the dominant means of travel used by six percent of all travelers.

[Source:  2010 Independence Day Consumer Intentions and Actions survey.    BIGresearch/​National Retail Federation. 24 Jun. 2010.  Web.  24 Jun. 2010; AAA/​IHS Global Insight 2010 Fourth of July holiday forecast.  AAA/​IHS Global Insight. 23 Jun. 2010.  Web. 23 Jun. 2010.]