Consumers cut back on St. Patrick’s Day celebrations

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This St. Patrick’s Day, Americans are more likely to stash any "pot o’ gold" they find rather than spend it.  According to NRF’s St. Patrick’s Day Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey, conducted by BIGresearch, people celebrating the Irish holiday will spend an average of $32.80 on decorations, food and beverage and festive attire, compared to an average of $35.04 in 2008. Total spending is expected to reach $3.29 billion.


While young adults are usually eager to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, 18-24 year-old spending is expected to decrease from an average of $42.20 last year to $36.05 this year. According to the survey, 25-34 year-olds will spend the most, with an average of $39.42 per person.

“Increased concern about the economy among young adults has forced many of them to pull back on discretionary spending,” said NRF President and CEO Tracy Mullin. “Many Americans will celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in small ways with special meals or a few decorations.”

Among the small ways Americans will celebrate: 81.9 percent of people said they will don green, one-third will make a special dinner (33.3%) and one in five (21.8%) will decorate their home or office. While fewer people plan to celebrate the holiday this year (44.1% vs. 46.0% in 2008), smaller private parties (16.7%) and bar/restaurant celebrations (29.6%) will still be popular.

The NRF 2009 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 8,426 consumers was conducted from February 3-10, 2009. The consumer poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.0 percent.

BIGresearch is a consumer market intelligence firm that provides unique consumer insights that are gathered online utilizing very large sample sizes. BIGresearch’s syndicated Consumer Intentions and Actions survey monitors the pulse of more than 8,000 consumers each month to empower its clients with unique insights for identifying opportunities in a fragmented and changing marketplace.