Celebration Budgets Explode for the Fourth of July

(Photo credit: Jingda Chen/Unsplash)
(Photo credit: Jingda Chen/Unsplash)

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As The Simpsons once succinctly noted, Americans believe there’s no better way to celebrate the independence of their country than by blowing up a small part of it.

They’ll be exploding more of it this year. Spending on fireworks is skyrocketing in 2023, according to the American Pyrotechnics Association. Meanwhile, Americans are spending more on Fourth of July barbecues than ever before. How’s that for dinner and a show?

Boom Goes the Fireworks

The covid years were quiet. Too quiet. Now, the fireworks industry is roaring back — sorry about this — with a bang. Fireworks sales for professional shows fell to $93 million in 2020, a 75% decrease from the year before, then boomed to $261 million in 2021 and to more than $400 million last year. In 2023, that figure is set to explode by another $100 million, according to the APA.

Consumers appear similarly stoked for cookouts. When poised with the eternal question of burger, brat, or hot dog, Americans seem to be choosing all three — plus perhaps a scoop of caviar on the side:

  • According to an annual survey from the National Retail Federation, Americans are planning per-person food spending of nearly $94 for Independence Day barbecues.
  • That’s up from the record high of $84 per person spent last year, according to NRF. Meanwhile, the number of people planning to host or attend a July 4 gathering has increased from 76% in 2020, 84% in 2021 and 2022, to 87% this year.

And don’t (just) blame inflation. The roughly 11% increase in per-person spending roughly laps the nearly 6% year-over-year food price inflation seen in May.

PSA: There is, of course, an added cost to the proceedings. Fireworks sparked an estimated 12,264 fires in 2021, according to the National Fire Protection Association, resulting in 29 civilian injuries and $59 million in direct property damage. A gentle reminder: Keep a wary, and if possible protected eye on your group’s self-appointed demolitions expert.