St. Patrick’s Day Spending to Reach Highest in Survey History

BY Courtney Huckabay
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Americans will spend more than ever as they put on their favorite green outfits to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day this year, the National Retail Federation said. According to NRF’s annual survey conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics, spending for St. Patrick’s Day is expected to reach $5.3 billion, an all-​time high in the survey’s 13-​year history.

More than 139 million Americans plan to celebrate the Irish holiday, and are expected to spend an average of $37.92 per person, up from last year’s $35.37 and a new record that tops the previous record of $36.52 set in 2015. The $5.3 billion total is up dramatically from last year’s $4.4 billion and tops the previous record of $4.8 billion set in 2014.

The latest AudienceSCAN study found 7.7% of Americans celebrated St. Patrick's Day at a bar or restaurant last year.

Now that winter is almost behind us and with St. Patrick’s Day falling on a Friday, we will see more Americans getting together to celebrate with friends and family,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “Retailers should expect a nice boost in sales as consumers purchase apparel, decorations, food and beverages to help make their celebrations special.”

According to the survey, 83 percent of celebrants will wear green to show their Irish pride, 31 percent plan to make a special dinner and 27 percent will head to a party at a bar or restaurant. Twenty-​three percent will decorate their homes or offices in an Irish theme and 15 percent will attend a private party. In addition, 15 percent are planning to attend a St. Patrick’s Day parade, especially those living in the Northeast (21 percent).

Bars and restaurants can encourage celebrators to party with them in newspaper (print, online, mobile or tablet) ads. The most recent AudienceSCAN survey revealed 67% of St. Patrick's Day Bar Patrons took action after seeing print advertising in the past year.

The survey found that 52 percent of celebrants will purchase food, 41 percent beverages, 28 percent apparel or accessories, 22 percent decorations and 14 percent buy candy. Of those making purchases, 39 percent will go to grocery stores, 29 percent to discount stores, 21 percent to bars/​restaurants and 18 percent to department stores.

Getting them to the bars/​restaurants with radio ads could be the pot 'o gold at the end of the rainbow. According to AudienceSCAN research, 65% of St. Patrick's Day Bar Patrons took action after hearing radio (over-​the-​air, online, mobile or tablet) spots in the past year.

St. Patrick’s Day is a time for consumers of all ages to have fun and celebrate all things Irish whether it is attending a parade, cooking an Irish meal, or meeting friends at a bar or restaurant,” Prosper Insights Principal Analyst Pam Goodfellow said. “While more Americans are planning to celebrate the shamrock-​filled day, expect Millennials to take the lead among the festivities.”

The holiday is most popular among individuals 18–24 years old, with 77 percent celebrating, but those 25–34 will be the biggest spenders at an average $46.55.

AudienceSCAN data is available as part of a subscription to AdMall for Agencies, or with the SalesFuel API. Media companies can access AudienceSCAN data through the AudienceSCAN Reports in AdMall.