July 1, 2019
This week many of us will have a chance to gather and celebrate the independence of our nation. Independence Day is a holiday that has traditions which are similar for people across the country. When I hear “The 4th of July” I think of watermelon, barbeque, fire-works, hotdog eating contests, and American flags. I am sure at least a few of those items are familiar to many Americans celebrating the 4th. With so many people enjoying the staples of this national holiday, how can vendors across the country possibly be stocked with enough hotdogs, miniature American flags, and fireworks to fulfill the demand?
According to the National Retail Federation, Americans will spend over $6.8 billion this week on cookouts, parades, and firework shows in celebration of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. $800 million worth of burgers and $370 million of chicken will be on the grill, along with a tab of over $150 million for hot dogs. Coolers will be filled with nearly $1.6 billion worth of beer and wine, and around $150 million will be spent on watermelon. There are a few other interesting figures worth knowing, especially if you are considering entering the 47th annual Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest. To win the title you will likely need to be able to gulp down over 70 in 10 minutes like Joey Chestnut, the current champ!
We also spend $5.5 million on American flags and $1 billion on fireworks each year. Ironically, over 90% of these two most iconic features of a good 4th of July party are imported from China. This year the ongoing US China trade negotiations, and the use of tariffs as a tactic, have caused many to become concerned about a price increase for fireworks in particular. Typically, a municipal firework show costs anywhere from $25,000 -$100,000, and there are expected to be over 16,000 displays occurring this Wednesday evening alone. By the end of the night, the total amount of pyrotechnics exploded for our entertainment will weigh in at about a pound for every adult in the country.
Thankfully it is not yet time for consumers to worry, all the imported products for use in this year’s celebrations have already been shipped without an increase in price due to tariffs. However, if tariffs are enforced on China, it is foreseeable that the majority of any future price increase will be passed on directly to consumers. Firework enthusiasts might consider stocking up on bottle rockets and fire crackers for next year.
The astonishing figures about our favorite foods and activities on the 4th of July have served as a reminder about what unites us in America. No matter what part of the country you are in, odds are you will be taking part in many of the same traditions. And wherever you are this Wednesday I hope you all enjoy some watermelon, fireworks, and a safe & happy 4th of July!