The one day of the year where pretty much everyone is Irish (or, so they say) could mean an influx of green for retailers.
The National Retail Federation estimates that Americans will spend roughly $4.4 billion on St. Patrick's Day this year, which could provide a boost for retailers who saw U.S. retail spending dip in each of the first two months of 2016 following a disappointing winter holiday season. That total actually represents a slight dip in St. Patrick's Day spending from recent years, as NRF reports that Americans spent a high of $4.8 billion on March 17, 2014.
The NRF adds that more than 125 million Americans are likely to celebrate the Irish cultural holiday this year (in some form or another), with each person expected to spend $35.37 on average as part of that celebration—down from last year's average of $36.52.
The decline in spending could be a reflection of the overall dip in Americans' retail spending in 2016. The NRF said last month that it expects retail sales to increase 3.1% this year—a pace that is roughly in line with the growth seen in 2015, when many retailers complained about disappointing sales.
"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," NRF President Matthew Shay said in a statement earlier this month.
While the holiday is most often associated with drinking alcohol (particularly, Guinness or beer dyed green), according to NRF's survey of more than 7,100 people, an overwhelming majority of people will celebrate St. Patrick's Day this year simply by wearing something green (82.1%). More than 31% plan to make a special dinner in honor of the holiday, while nearly 29% of respondents said they planned to "attend a party at a bar/restaurant" to celebrate.
People across the U.S. will be celebrating St. Patrick's Day on Thursday and throughout the week, as some cities plan weekend events around the holiday. New York City hosts its annual St. Patrick's Day parade this morning, which is expected to draw roughly two million spectators to watch 150,000 people march through Manhattan.