Saint Patrick’s Day comprises the smallest slice of the NRF’s holiday spending pie chart, but this year, retailers are hoping that revelers, Irish or not, will welcome the opportunity to shake off cabin fever and prolonged winter conditions.
Despite its unfortunate place on the calendar this year, St. Patrick’s Day is not expected to have a case of the Mondays, according to consumer spending trends tracked by the National Retail Federation. There are 34.7 million U.S. residents with Irish ancestry. This number is more than seven times the population of Ireland itself. But as the late Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley used to jest, everyone is Irish on St. Patrick’s Day.
St. Patrick’s Day marks the feast day of the patron saint of Ireland, who—fun fact—was not even Irish, but through the years, the holiday has evolved into a worldwide celebration of Irish culture. Boston can lay claim to staging the first St. Patrick’s Day parade, which kicked off in 1737.
Saint Patrick’s Day comprises the smallest slice of the NRF’s holiday spending pie chart, but this year, retailers are hoping that revelers, Irish or not, will welcome the opportunity to shake off cabin fever and the prolonged winter conditions. This year’s Saint Patrick’s Day spending is expected to be on par with last year, with a projected 133 million people expected to spend $4.8 billion (up 2 percent from 2013). That’s a lot of green.
The average person is forecast to spend about $36.
Millennials are driving (designated, we hope) St. Patrick’s festivities and celebrations, according to the NRF’s consumer spending trends survey, More than three-fourths (77 percent) of celebrants are expected to be those ages 18-24 and a staggering 90 percent will wear something green. Almost half (45 percent) of older Millennials ages 24-34 said they expect to attend a party at a bar or restaurant.
But St. Patrick’s Day is not wasted on the young, which is just as well as much of the young do tend to get wasted. Eight-out-of-ten Americans of all ages said they will wear green for the occasion, while one-in-five will decorate their home or office with shamrocks or other St. Patrick’s Day décor.
Donald Liebenson writes news and features for Millionaire Corner. He has been published in the Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Los Angeles Times, Fiscal Times, Entertainment Weekly, Huffington Post, and other outlets. He has also served as a marketing writer for Chicago-based Questar Entertainment and distributor Baker & Taylor.
A graduate of the University of Southern California, he is married with a college-age son. He also writes extensively about entertainment.