Pinch Me! This Is What Americans Will Spend On St. Patrick’s Day

When you were a kid, the biggest worry you had on St. Patrick’s Day was whether or not you were wearing enough green to avoid being pinched. Celebrating the day of the Irish Saint Patrick is a little more complicated — and expensive — for adults. Now, we not only have to worry about being pinched by our children, but also our bank accounts.

Recent reports have shown that St. Patrick’s Day spending is surprisingly high where consumers are concerned. The National Retail Federation has estimated that Americans will spend $4.4 billion on St. Patrick’s Day this year, which is just $0.4 billion shy of the record high spending on March 17, 2014. It’s not nearly as much as what you would see during the holiday season, but it’s a surprising amount, particularly around bars and restaurants.

“Retailers expect to see a nice boost in sales as consumers head to stores looking for apparel, decorations, food and beverages to help make their St. Patrick’s Day celebrations special,” National Retail Federation President and CEO Matthew Shay said in a statement regarding the survey.

On average, American’s spend approximately $2.9 billion every day, putting today’s spending at a little less than double the average day. This puts the average spending per person on St. Paddy’s Day at $35.37.

These numbers represent the averages if every single person spent money on St. Patrick’s Day, but according to the findings, only 51.2 percent of consumers have any plans of celebrating. What’s more, some simply won’t spend money today, which could put the spending per celebrator at closer to $100-$200.

Out of the 51 percent who plan to celebrate, 82.1 percent plan to wear green, which will only cost money if they have no green in their closets. Here’s what’s costing Americans the most money on St. Paddy’s Day.

Twenty one percent said they would be attending a private party tonight, which means they’ll need to purchase some kind of food or beverage to contribute. They may also need a costume or silly hat to contribute.

On St. Patrick's Day, thousands of Americans will hit the store, seeking silly green apparel they can use for parades and parties and decorate their homes or offices with. Before the end of the day, stores will be completely out of any green party favors. (Photo by Ben Pruchnie/Getty Images)
Another 22.8 percent said they planned to decorate their home or office. Depending on who you’re talking to, that could range anywhere from $5 to $100 in decorations.

Thirty-one percent say they’ll make a special dinner, which will require money for the special ingredients. They’ll probably also purchase green food dye, because the world is taken over by green fever this time of year.

But what will perhaps cost the most is the 28.7 percent of people who say they’ll celebrate at a bar or restaurant. Food and drink retailers are likely to rake in the most dough here, since they’re venues will attract a slew of high-spending celebrators.

Millennials in particular are expected to spend away. More than 70 percent of those between the ages of 18 and 24 said they planned to celebrate. Approximately 41 percent of those between the ages of 25 and 34 will join in on the fun, with the average expected spending peaking at $42.60.

Pubs are predicted to be particularly busy, since it’s traditional for consumers to celebrate with a variety of beer. It’s estimated that last year 13 million pints of Guinness were consumed around the world on St. Patrick’s Day. That’s enough beer to fill two olympic swimming pools.

“[A] major influence on local economies surrounding St. Patrick’s Day is beer. Many cities have well-established pub crawls that prompt extended hours at bars and restaurants, with some opening as early as 7 a.m. to accommodate parade-goers,” analysts at The PNC Financial Services Group wrote earlier this week.

Most major cities host a parade, which helps to boost revenue of surrounding businesses. Restaurants, bars, and street vendors are overflowing with customers several hours before and after the event. (Photo by Tristan Fewings/Getty Images)
Though the billions spent this year are lower than the spending last year, consumer spending is up more than 11 billion since it hit an all-time low in 2009 following the recession.

“This increased spending provides an extra boost to the U.S. economy during a traditionally slow period for the tourism industry in many states,” PNC Financial Services Group analysts reported.

The economy may be slowing down, but where St. Patrick’s Day is concerned, restaurants and bars are expected to excel.

[Photo by Ben Pruchnie/Getty Images]