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Some 68% of Memorial Day shoppers plan to spend under $100 on their holiday supplies, though nearly a quarter (23%) expect to spend more this year than they did last year.

Memorial Day: Some 57% plan to celebrate, 44% plan to buy alcohol

Gen Z more likely to shop at Dollar Stores, Gen X more likely to purchase alcoholic beverages, according to data from Numerator

Nearly three in five US consumers (57%) plan to celebrate Memorial Day weekend, and 95% of celebrants plan to make purchases, with the top items being food and alcohol, according to new survey data from data and tech company Numerator.

The data was sourced from verified purchase data and a sentiment survey of over 5,500 consumers on their 2024 Q2 holiday intentions. 

Findings include:

  • Over half of Americans plan to celebrate Memorial Day weekend: Some 57% of U.S. consumers say plan to celebrate the holiday weekend, and the top celebration plans include gathering with family and friends (57% of celebrators), grilling/barbecuing (52%), cooking or baking at home (29%), hosting others at their home (17%), and attending a public celebration (13%). Gen X and Boomers are more likely to celebrate Memorial Day than younger generations.
  • People are looking to get out of the house for Memorial Day 2024: Compared to what consumers said they did in 2023, more plan to attend a public celebration, travel, and go out to eat (all up plus-2% vs YA) for Memorial Day this year
  • Nearly all celebrants plan to make Memorial Day weekend purchases: Food tops the shopping list (83% plan to purchase), followed by alcoholic beverages (44%), non-alcoholic beverages (33%), decorations (17%), party supplies (14%), candy (9%), and games or activities (9%)
  • Beer remains the most popular alcoholic beverage for the holiday: Among those planning to buy alcohol, the top choice is beer (76%), followed by wine (42%), spirits or spirit-based drinks (36%), and hard seltzers or canned cocktails (35%). Gen Z is over twice as likely to choose hard seltzers or canned cocktails (88% vs. 35%), while Boomers+ are the most likely generation to opt for wine (51% vs. 42%)
  • Grocery stores will see the most shoppers this Memorial Day: The most popular locations for planned Memorial Day weekend purchases are grocery stores (65%), big box stores (47%), liquor stores (24%), discount or dollar stores (18%), and local shops / small businesses (14%). Compared to other generations, Gen Z consumers are 1.6x more likely to say they will shop at discount or dollar stores 
  • Memorial Day weekend could see slightly higher spending this year: 68% of Memorial Day shoppers plan to spend under $100 on their holiday supplies, though nearly a quarter (23%) expect to spend more this year than they did last year

Consumer purchase findings include:

  • Beer typically sees a boost in the week leading up to Memorial Day weekend: In the week leading up to Memorial Day 2023, beer saw a 19% unit increase (vs the week prior), and nearly 1 in 3 US households (30%) purchased beer in that timeframe
  • Consumers are using the holiday weekend to drink new finds and old favorites: In the week leading up to the 2023 holiday, the beer brands that saw the greatest increase in unit sales were Goose Island (+197%), New Glarus (+85%), Guinness (+77%), Blue Moon (+69%), Pabst Blue Ribbon (+67%), and Dos Equis (+54%)
  • When purchasing hot dogs, Memorial Day baskets mimic a classic picnic menu: In the week leading up to Memorial Day 2023, shopping baskets that contained hot dogs were 13x more likely to also contain chili topping and 8x more likely to contain chili. Baskets with hot dogs were also 8x more likely to contain combo condiment packs, 7x more likely to contain packaged rolls & buns, and 4x more likely to contain side dishes (shelf-stable), packaged sides (refrigerated), and beef
  • In the weeks leading up to Memorial Day weekend, consumers ready themselves and their spaces for outdoor living. In the four weeks leading up to Memorial Day 2023, unit sales spiked for bug repellent (+130%), pool tools & accessories (+103%), pool floats & pool noodles (+96%), canopies & shelters (+89%), pools & chemicals (+83%), grills (+63%), patio chairs (+56%), and sunscreen (+41%) 

Numerator’s Q2 2024 Holiday Preview survey was fielded to 5,577 consumers in April 2024 and highlights consumers’ celebration, shopping and spending plans for five key holidays occurring in May, June, and July 2024. Purchasing insights were compiled using Numerator’s 150k household Total Commerce Panel, looking at data in the week leading up to Memorial Day 2023 versus the prior week period for beer and grocery sales and data from May 2, 2023 to May 29, 2023 versus the prior four-week period for outdoor and recreation. 

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