The average family will spend about the same on Independence Day cookouts and picnics this year as last, but with more Americans celebrating the holiday, total spending should be slightly higher, according to the National Retail Federation’s annual survey conducted by Prosper Insights and Analytics.
“Americans are ready to kick-start summer by enjoying Independence Day with family and friends,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “Whether it’s low gas prices or just good weather, more people plan to celebrate this year, and that means more shoppers are online and in stores as they prepare for the festivities.”
The survey found that an estimated 214 million people plan to celebrate the holiday, which will result an expected total spending of $6.8 billion, up 1.4 percent from last year.
Consumers will spend an average of $71.34 per household on food for barbecues and picnics, essentially unchanged from last year’s $71.23.
Among those surveyed, 65 percent plan to attend a cookout/barbecue/picnic while 43 percent will watch fireworks or join another community celebration and 12 percent will attend a parade.
The survey also found that American families are well-stocked on patriotic items: Nearly two-thirds own a U.S. flag, half own patriotic-themed apparel such as T-shirts and hats and a third own patriotic decorations. Nonetheless, 25 percent plan to purchase more of these items in preparation for the holiday.
The weekend is also a popular time for travel and vacations with 12.7 percent, or 31 million, saying they will head out of town. With gasoline prices relatively low, only 21 percent said gas prices will affect their travel plans, down from 22 percent last year and a peak of 47 percent when gas prices were higher in 2011.
“Fortunately for most people this Fourth of July, gas prices will not affect their travel plans,” said Pam Goodfellow, director of consumer insights for Prosper Insights. “Many consumers will take advantage of these low gas prices and head to the beach or other vacation spots to spend quality time with family and friends.”
The survey of 6,811 consumers was conducted June 1-7 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.2 percentage points.