Retailers expect record breaking St. Patrick’s Day


The 9-to-5 crowd aren’t the only ones grateful St. Patrick’s Day is on a weekend this year – retailers have plenty to celebrate, too.

According to a new survey from the National Retail Federation, Americans are expected to spend $5.9 billion celebrating all things Irish this year, which smashes the 2017 record of $5.3 billion.

The trade group said the average reveler is expected to spend $39.65 thanking the saint for taking care of that pesky snake infestation for the Emerald Isle. That’s nearly $1.75 more than last year.

“This is continued great news for Florida retailers as the past few holidays and celebrations have all set spending records, and with St. Patrick’s Day falling on a Saturday this year, the luck of the Irish should be with those retailers selling themed merchandise,” said R. Scott Shalley, president and CEO of the Florida Retail Federation.

NRF said 149 million Americans plan to celebrate the Apostle of Ireland in one way or another and, to the surprise of few, found that the 18-24 age group were the most ravenous in their anticipation of Saturday night festivities, with 77 percent planning to take part.

The young adult crowd will spend a bit less than the 35- to 44-year-old bracket, likely because older consumers have learned their share of lessons on green beer and will opt for something that tastes a little less like wet cardboard even if it costs a tad more.

By far the most common way to celebrate is to wear green, said NRF. More than four out of five are expected to do just that, while about a third said they’ll make a special dinner to mark the occasion and 27 percent will head to the bar.

About one in six said they’d skip the strip and head to a private party instead, while 15 percent plan to check out a parade and 9 percent are holding a party of their own.

NRF said that consumers’ St. Patty’s budget will be used as follows: 50 percent will buy food, 41 percent will buy beverages, 31 percent will pick up new clothes or accessories, 26 percent will grab some new décor and 16 percent will get some candy.

About two-fifths said their shopping will include a grocery store run, 31 percent will head to discount stores like Target or Wal-Mart, and a fifth will hit up department stores.

Curiously, only 19 percent said their spending plan includes paying a bar tab – 8 percentage points less than those who said they’d drop by their favorite dive.

Drew Wilson

Drew Wilson covers legislative campaigns and fundraising for Florida Politics. He is a former editor at The Independent Florida Alligator and business correspondent at The Hollywood Reporter. Wilson, a University of Florida alumnus, covered the state economy and Legislature for LobbyTools and The Florida Current prior to joining Florida Politics.


Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch @PeterSchorschFL

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Drew Dixon, Roseanne Dunkelberger, A.G. Gancarski, Anne Geggis, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Cole Pepper, Gray Rohrer, Jesse Scheckner, Christine Sexton, Drew Wilson, and Mike Wright.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @PeterSchorschFL
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704