Consumers Spend Plenty of Green for St. Patrick's Day

Holiday Expected to Generate More Than $4 Billion in Sales

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Turns out green beer and shamrocks are a multibillion-dollar business.

More than half of all Americans are expected to celebrate St. Patrick's Day this year, spending more than $4 billion in the process. According to a new survey from the National Retail Federation and BigResearch, 122 million consumers plan to celebrate this year, up from 111 million a year ago. It's the biggest turnout for St. Patrick's Day in the survey's eight-year history.

Celebration Plans
Wear green 83%
Make a special dinner 34%
Attend a party at a bar, restaurant 31%
Decorate 25%
Attend a private party 19%

"March is typically one of the slower months of the year, in terms of consumer spending, but we expect this year's celebration to provide a nice boost for companies who are in the business of promoting the holiday," said Phil Rist, exec VP strategic initiatives at BigResearch.

St. Patrick's Day Spending
2011 $4.14B
2010 $3.44B
2009 $3.29B
2008 $3.64B
2007 $3.76B
Consumers plan to celebrate in a variety of ways, from wearing green to attending a party to decorating. On average, consumers will spend $37 on their celebrations. Nearly 102 million people plan to wear green on March 17, while 38 million will take advantage of Irish-themed celebrations and green beverage specials at restaurants and bars. More than 30 million people say they'll be decking out their homes or offices in St. Patrick's Day-themed decorations.

"Eager to shake off the winter blues, consumers will look to St. Patrick's Day as their first spring-related celebration, meaning great things for the economy, retailers and restaurants," said NRF President-CEO Matthew Shay.

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