It seems likely that more people will be celebrating Independence Day on Monday than did in 2020 or 2021, but rising prices are expected to keep celebrations from reaching pre-pandemic levels again.
The National Retail Federation predicts 84% of Americans will be celebrating this year, on par with the 84% who celebrated in 2021. This is well above the 76% who celebrated in 2020 but remains two percentage points below the 86% who celebrated in 2019, prior to the pandemic.
Similarly, AAA predicts an estimated 47.9 million will travel 50 miles or more for the holiday, a 3.7% increase over 2021 travel. This remains 2.1% below 2019 levels, however, as declines in air (-9.3%) and other (-31.6%) travel more than offset an expected increase in automobile travel (1.1%). The increase in car travel is expected despite rising gas prices, as AAA estimates the national average price of gas at over $5 per gallon. 2]
Celebrations come at a cost, and inflation and supply chain issues are expected to drive up costs across the board. Total expected spending on July 4th celebrations is expected to reach $7.7 billion in 2022, up from $7.52 billion in 2021, according to the National Retail Federation. This translates to increased spending per person as well, from $80.51 in 2021 to $84.12 in 2022 on things like cookouts, BBQs, picnics, fireworks, travel, and other community celebrations.
Fireworks in particular have risen in price. Using the Internet Archive snapshots of Fireworks.com to view historical pricing shows a sample package of fireworks--the bestselling Red, White and Boom!—has increased in price by more than 31% from $18.99 in 2021 to $24.99 in 2022. This is consistent with estimates from the American Pyrotechnics Association of a 35% increase in overall costs for the fireworks industry. The Association suggests costs are rising primarily due to increasing prices for supplies and raw materials as well as shipping costs, as almost all fireworks in the USA are imported from China.
There is one indicator we hope to see go down this year: fireworks cause thousands of injuries each year and even several deaths. The number of incidents increased 50% in 2020 compared to 2019. However you choose to celebrate (or not), we hope you do so safely.
Research support provided by Jonathan Campbell.