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How Millennials & Gen Z Are Celebrating the 4th, In 4 Stats

The 4th of July is a big retail holiday for the country, so we found out what 13-34-year-olds planned to do, buy, and spend to celebrate…

When we asked in our June monthly survey of Millennials and Gen Z, 91% of 13-34-year-olds planned to celebrate the 4th of July this year. As always, we dug into their plans to find out what their holidays would look like and, perhaps more importantly for brands, what they planned to buy and how much they planned to spend to celebrate Independence Day this year.

BuzzFeed reports that as a nation, Americans will spend an estimated $7.1 billion on food during the weekend, and Walmart calls it “one of the biggest food holidays of the year.” According to our survey, 18-34-year-olds who are celebrating and plan to buy items for the holiday estimated that they would be spending over $100 on average. (An over $10 increase from their 2016 estimates.) Which means Millennials alone account for an estimated $6B in 4th of July spending power. Spending estimates were highest among 30-34-year-olds, who said they would fork out over $150 on average for the 4th celebrations. Gen Z came in at a slightly lower planned spending estimate average, but also planned to out-buy Millennial consumers in some categories. So what exactly are these groups planning to buy? Here’s their star-spangled-spending for the 4th, broken down in four stats:

1. Almost seven in ten 13-34-year-olds planned to watch fireworks & two in five planned to purchase them.

Nothing says 4th of July like a fireworks display, and 66% of Millennials and Gen Z planned to watch one this holiday—with 37% planning to purchase their own to set off at home. Young consumers in the Midwest and South are most likely to plan to buy fireworks, with over two in five saying they would be purchasing (local laws might be at play here in some cases). Meanwhile, Gen Z is far more likely than Millennials to plan to make fireworks a part of their 4th, with four in five saying they would watch, and over half saying they planned to purchase.

2. Almost two in five want to wear red, white, and blue.

Get out those American flag tees: 38% of 13-34-year-olds planned to wear their country’s colors for the holiday—and one quarter planned to buy clothing for the occasion. Those numbers jump up significantly when looking at the plans of females 13-34-years-old: almost half (45%) planned to wear patriotic colors, and three in ten planned to buy clothing for the holiday. Once again Gen Z leads in the celebratory plans: almost three in five females 13-17-years-old planned to wear red, white, and blue, and two in five planned to buy clothing.

3. Three quarters of 13-34-year-olds planned to purchase food for the 4th.

As Walmart said, it’s a food holiday, and 74% of 13-34-year-olds planned to buy food for the 4th, with 34% planning to buy non-alcoholic beverages as well. In fact, over half (57%) planned to have a BBQ or picnic, which means hefty food purchases. Last year, MarketWatch reported that Millennials throw some expensive summer barbecues. Prices for specialty foods have risen and their taste for fancier food items is impacting their BBQ budgets. One estimate says that a ‘Millennial barbecue’ (think grass-fed beef and blue cheese burgers) will cost roughly $11.91 per guest this year, while a more traditional barbecue (think American cheese and regular beef burgers) would cost around $6 per guest.

4. Over half of those 21+ planned to purchase alcohol.

It is a party after all, and 56% of 21-34-year-olds told Ypulse they planned to buy alcoholic beverages for the 4th—with 41% saying that drinking/partying would be part of their holiday weekend plans. The same research cited above noted that Millennials are likely forking over more booze money than other generations thanks to their tastes, as beer has also gone up in price by over 6% and “higher end alcoholic beverages such as craft beer and small-batch spirits cost more.” Our monthly Ypulse survey found that 19% of 21-33-year-olds choose craft beer as their go-to drink on a typical night out, and when we asked 21-34-year-olds their favorite alcohol brands, craft/local beer took the top spot. 

To download the PDF version of this insight article, click here.