A ‘Hump Day’ Fourth of July slows down U.S. consumer celebrations and spending totals

Americans are expected to spend USD 6.9 billion on food for Fourth of July cookouts and picnics next month, according to the annual survey released today by the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insight & Analytics. That’s down from last year’s record USD 7.1 billion as fewer people say they will turn out for the Wednesday holiday but is still the second-highest amount in the history of the survey and per-person spending is up.

“With the holiday falling in the middle of the week, a few less Americans will be free to celebrate and that affects spending totals,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “But those who are celebrating by attending or hosting a cookout or picnic, are actually spending more, and retailers will be ready with red-white-and-blue decorations, apparel and food.”

According to the survey, over 216 million Americans (87 %) plan to observe Independence Day, down slightly from last year’s 219 million (88 %). Nearly 153 million (62 %) are planning a cookout or picnic, spending an average of USD 75.35 per person, a new record topping last year’s USD 73.42. (The numbers cover only food items, and not other holiday-related items.)

Other Independence Day celebrations include partaking in fireworks or a community celebration (106 million) and attending a parade (30 million). Fourth of July is also a popular time for traveling with 31 million planning to head out of town. That’s down from last year’s 33 million and 25 % said higher gas prices would affect their plans, but the decline in travel could also be related to the timing of the holiday.

“Over a quarter of Americans plan to buy more patriotic decorations for the holiday this year,” Prosper Insights Executive Vice President of Strategy Phil Rist said. “We find young people really embrace this holiday, which explains why young people are significantly more likely to buy more patriotic-themed decorations or apparel for the holiday than any other age group.”

The survey found that 62 % of consumers already own an American flag, 51 % have patriotic apparel such as a T-shirt or hat, and 38 % own decorations. Overall, only 27 % plan to purchase additional patriotic merchandise, but the number jumps to 44 % for those ages 18-24 and declines steadily for older individuals.

The survey of 7199 consumers was conducted June 5-13 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.2 percentage points.

Prosper Insights & Analytics is a global leader in consumer intent data serving the financial services, marketing technology, and retail industries. We provide global authoritative market information on U.S. and China consumers via curated insights and analytics. By integrating a variety of data including economic, behavioural and attitudinal data, Prosper helps companies accurately predict consumers’ future behaviour to help identify market behaviours, optimize marketing efforts, and improve the effectiveness of demand generation campaigns.

The National Retail Federation is the world’s largest retail trade association. Based in Washington, D.C., NRF represents discount and department stores, home goods and specialty stores, Main Street merchants, grocers, wholesalers, chain restaurants and internet retailers from the United States and more than 45 countries. Retail is the nation’s largest private-sector employer, supporting one in four U.S. jobs — 42 million working Americans. Contributing USD 2.6 trillion to annual GDP, retail is a daily barometer for the nation’s economy.