Seeing Green on St. Patrick’s Day

While St. Patrick’s Day might not drive sales as large as other holidays, it is a holiday that people love to celebrate! And although the holiday falls on a Monday this year, it doesn’t seem to be slowing fans of the holiday down.

According to a National Retail Federation study administered by Survey Analytics, 55% of Americans plan to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in some way. Though the NRF reports that spending is projected to be fairly flat over 2013, the average shopper expects to spend $36 on St. Patrick’s Day goods such as clothing, food or decorations, an increase from 2009 and 2010.

Much of this spending is going toward parties at the bar. In fact, 41% of those celebrating say they will be spending the night out with friends at a bar or party.It’s hard not to think of beer and Guinness in association with the Irish holiday, but Guinness isn’t the only thing party goers will be drinking. According to Survey Analytics, over 50% of American’s prefer to drink beer on St. Patrick’s Day, but don’t discount other beers or spirits (see chart below).

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Many prefer spirits, and 19% of shoppers are planning to celebrate with hard liquor. Shipping analyst firm, Panjiva, reports a 77% increase in shipments of Jameson in December 2013 and January 2014 over the same time period a year ago. Although that doesn’t necessarily equal consumption, bars and restaurants are preparing for a rise in those imbibing in whisky.

Beyond the bars, retailers of all types are taking advantage of St. Patrick’s Day with themed offers to drive spring sales. From PETCO’s 17% off with promo code SHAMROCK to Stride Rite’s 17% off with promo code GREEN17, even those without a tie to St. Patrick’s Day are finding a way to use the holiday to get their own green. Is it paying off for them? Only time will tell. Do you expect to see sales during holiday time periods even if the merchandise has nothing to do with that holiday? Share your thoughts.