Taking place on Saturday 17 March (tomorrow), St. Patrick’s Day is big business at retail, with consumers looking to dress up, have fun and celebrate, regardless of their nationality.
The traditional Irish celebration of ‘The Feast of St. Patrick’ is a truly global celebration, with over 80million people worldwide claiming to have some connection to the Emerald Isle itself. This wide-reaching global Irish community ensures that this holiday is economically significant, although it is bigger in America than it is in any other place in the world, including Ireland.
In the US, almost 40% of people claim an Irish heritage; nearly seven times the population of Ireland. The National Retail Federation has predicted that 2018 will see the highest levels of St. Patrick’s Day spending in US history at $5.9 billion, up from last year’s previous record of $5.3 billion.
With 60% of Americans planning to celebrate by dressing up and going out to have a good time, each person will be spending just under $40, on average. Of those, 83% plan to be wearing fancy dress or something green.
In Ireland, however, consumer retail research by ShopperTrak has shown that St. Patrick’s Day itself does not drive additional traffic to stores, with people busy partying rather than shopping.
“For the past three years, the day before St. Patrick’s Day has experienced an uplift in traffic, as people stock up on supplies and outfits for the big day,” said a spokesperson. “We can expect Friday 16 March to see a retail traffic boost this year, particularly across supermarkets, off licences, clothing stores and outlets specialising in party goods and fancy dress.”
Not to be outdone, London’s St. Patrick’s Day Festival – which is now in its sixteenth year – attracts more than 125,000 people to the parade and festival in central London and Trafalgar Square. That’s a lot of Guinness!