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Seeing Green: St. Patrick's Day Business by the Numbers

by Safia Samee Ali and Matthew DeLuca /

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As people across America with Irish ancestry (and plenty without) celebrate St. Patrick’s Day on Thursday, many businesses have reason to cheer, as well.

More than 125 million Americans plan to mark the occasion in some way, whether that’s by donning a shamrock sweater, strapping on some bagpipes or raising a few pints of Guinness, according to survey data released by the National Retail Federation.

And the average reveler is set to spend an average of $35.37 observing the holiday with their fellow sons and daughters of Erin.

“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.

Here are some other St. Patrick’s Day facts for while you’re having a craic and singing along to the Pogues with friends on Thursday. Slàinte!

  • Lots of people plan on wearing green. Among respondents to the NRF survey, 88.9 percent of younger lads and lassies (18-24) said they’d be wearing the color on March 17.
  • Guinness, the drink perhaps most associated with the holiday, will be gulped in more than 150 countries over the course of St. Patrick’s Day, according to the brewer.
  • St. Patrick’s Day is the fourth largest holiday for alcohol consumption in the U.S., according to Zacks, trailing New Year’s Eve, Christmas, and July Fourth.
  • Twenty-one percent of all adults plan to attend a private party to mark the day, and nearly 30 percent plan to stop in at a bar or restaurant, according to the NRF.
  • Total spending over St. Patrick's Day could get as high as $4.4 billion, as people shell out for plenty of corned beef and fake leprechaun beards.

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