St. Patrick’s Day is a global celebration of Irish culture and the feast day of the Emerald Isle. As Lenten restrictions on eating and drinking alcohol are lifted across Ireland, many in the United States are already toasting in our Kelly Green. While St. Patrick may have called Ireland his home, the numbers prove that the celebration day was perfected here in the States. It might be the effect of the diaspora or a love of Guinness, but the US spends big money for St. Paddy.
According to the National Retail Federation, spending across the country will reach $5.3 billion. The all-time high is attributed to the celebration falling on a Friday at the height of the NCAA’s March Madness. “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,” said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay. “Retailers should expect a nice boost in sales as consumers purchase apparel, decorations, food and beverages to help make their celebrations special.” The survey found that 139 million Americans will party and on average spend $37.92 per person. That $5.3 billion total is up sharply from last year’s $4.4 billion and eclipses the previous record of $4.8 billion from 2014.
According to the US Census Bureau data from 2015, 32.72 million people claim some form of ancestral Irish ancestry, which is second only to German origins. Guinness will see a large boost in sales from these Irish revelers. The Irish champagne will see an estimated $28 million day here in the States alone. St. Patrick’s Day is most popular with those in the younger demographic – 19-24 – but consumers from 25-34 will spend the most money per person, according to the NRF. Many businesses are looking to entice customers with special sales (for example, some stores, like Urban Outfitters, are giving a 17% discount on apparel) while many others are dyeing items green. Krispy Kreme is expecting a boost in sales today with green doughnuts. However, St. Patrick’s Day has always been a day to don green, recite a limerick, pinch a friend to protect from fairies and cast cares aside at a parade over a plate of corned beef and cabbage.