Monday, June 29, 2009

Independence Day

Here in the USA, Saturday is when we celebrate the birth of our country:

Consumers Plan to Come Out of Hiding for 4th of July

Celebrations Rise as Holiday Falls on Weekend; Gas Prices May Impact Plans

Even in the midst of an economic downturn, Americans plan to show their patriotism and are making big plans for July 4.

According to the National Retail Federation's 2009 Independence Day Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey, conducted by BIGresearch, more people will celebrate the July 4 holiday this year than last year. With the holiday falling on a Saturday, many Americans are planning a memorable celebration: 62.6 percent -- or 144 million people -- will host or attend a cookout, barbecue or picnic, compared to 61.2 percent (139 million people) in 2008.

The survey also found that more people will attend their local fireworks or community celebration (42.7 percent vs. 40.2 percent in 2008). Other popular celebrations include attending a parade (11.5 percent) or traveling/taking a vacation (11.4 percent).

"Americans are ready to kick-start summer and celebrate Independence Day," said NRF President and CEO Tracy Mullin. "Retailers will be stocked with supplies for every celebration, from large family cookouts to trips to the beach."

When it comes to the patriotic merchandise consumers already own, 121 million Americans own an American flag, 89 million have patriotic apparel, 58 million own decorations and 25 million have bumper stickers or car decals. According to the survey, 14 percent of consumers plan to purchase additional patriotic merchandise.

Though gas prices are still far below last year's levels, a recent uptick in costs is causing some Americans to reconsider their plans. According to the survey, 44.5 percent of Americans will change their Independence Day plans on account of higher gas prices.

"With July 4 falling on Saturday this year, many Americans will use the holiday as the perfect excuse to relax with family and friends," said Phil Rist, Executive Vice President, Strategic Initiatives, BIGresearch. "With gas prices on the rise again, some Americans will opt to spend the weekend close to home, taking advantage of neighborhood gatherings and local celebrations."

As part of its latest survey, the National Retail Federation also asked consumers if they were doing any of the following activities as a result of fluctuating gas prices: Taking fewer shopping trips, 42.9 percent; shopping for sales more often, 42.6 percent; shopping closer to home, 40.4 percent; using coupons more often, 39.6 percent; buying more store brand/generic products, 34.1 percent; doing more comparative shopping with ad circulars/newspapers, 32.0 percent; doing more comparative shopping online, 24.3 percent; shopping more online, 14.0 percent.

(Source: National Retail Federation, 06/22/09)

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