nrf-st-pats-mar-2011.JPGMore Americans planning to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day (Thursday, March 17) this year than last year should produce a roughly 20% increase in total year-over-year holiday spending, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF) 2011 St. Patrick’s Day Consumer Intentions and Actions survey, conducted by BIGresearch. St. Patrick’s Day spending totaled $3.44 billion in 2010 and is expected to reach $4.14 billion this year.

Wearing Green Remains Favorite Celebration

About 52% of Americans expect to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day this year, up 15.5% from about 45% last year and the highest percentage in the eight-year history of the survey. Wearing green clothing remains the perennial favorite method of observing the holiday, with about 83% of celebrants (nearly 102 million people) intending to don green apparel.

Other popular ways to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day this year include making a special dinner (34%, or about 41 million Americans), attending a party at a bar or a restaurant (about 31%, or 38 million Americans), decorating a home or office (about 25%, or 31 million Americans), and attending a private party (about 19%, or 23 million).

Average Spending Up 3%

Average spending per person celebrating St. Patrick’s Day is only up about 3% year-over-year, from $33.05 to $33.97. However, the increase in total celebrants accounts for the 20% jump in total dollars spent.

St. Patrick’s Day spending is showing a slow but steady increase from 2009, when total spending was 26% lower at $3.29 billion. In addition, average spending per person was $32.80, down about 3.5%.

Westerners Wear the Green

The survey found several demographic anomalies in its response rates. For example, 86% of people in the West will wear green, which is more than the survey found for the average adult. Young adults 18-24 will be the biggest group attending private parties (34%) and adults 25-34 years old will spend the most on average ($41.30).

Average Valentine’s Day Spending Rises 11%

Average spending for Valentine’s Day (Feb. 14, 2011), the most recent major consumer holiday in the US, was also expected to increase this year, according to another recent NRF/BIGresearch survey. The average US consumer was expected to shell out $116.21 on traditional Valentine’s Day merchandise this year, up 11% from last year’s $103. Total holiday spending was expected to reach $15.7 billion, also up 11% from $14.1 billion last year.

About the Data: The NRF 2011 St. Patrick’s Day Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey, conducted by BIGresearch, was designed to gauge consumer behavior and shopping trends related to St. Patrick’s Day. The poll of 8,273 consumers was conducted from February 1-8, 2011.


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