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BizReport : Ecommerce archives : March 08, 2009

More Americans wearing green, not spending green, on St Patrick's Day

A recent survey from the National Retail Federation will have retailers that are preparing for St Patrick's Day searching high and low for a four leaf clover.

by Helen Leggatt

Behind New Year and Halloween, St Patrick's Day on March 17 is one of the major party-inducing holidays in the American calendar. But this year consumers may be keeping the green they're not wearing in their pockets.

The National Retail Federation's latest Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey (.pdf), conducted by BIGresearch, found that the average spend per person will fall this year, as Americans look for cheaper ways to celebrate such as parties at home or cheaper drinks brands. While total spending is expected to reach $3.29 billion, the average per person is expected to drop from 2008's $35.04 to $32.80.

According to the survey, 25-34 year-olds will spend the most, with an average of $39.42 per person, but even young adults aged 18-24, who are usually eager to celebrate St. Patrick's Day, are expected to spend less - $36.05 this year compared to $42.20 in 2008.

"Increased concern about the economy among young adults has forced many of them to pull back on discretionary spending," said NRF President and CEO Tracy Mullin. "Many Americans will celebrate St. Patrick's Day in small ways with special meals or a few decorations."

Some drinks brands, such as the Anheuser-Busch InBev-owned Bass Pale Ale, are providing consumers with the tools to celebrate at home, reports USAToday. The brand, which distributes a tool to allow people to pour the popular tipple "Black & Tan" at home, will increase distribution of the tool from 2008's 30,000 to 300,000 this year.

"People are cutting back, and they are tying to be more careful with their money," says Scott Gaterman, brand manager. "People want to have more parties at home, and it's even more true this year."

Tags: Anheuser-Busch, Black & Tan, drinks, green, holiday, National Retail Federation, St Patrick's Day, total spending

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