In this article:
- Do local businesses make more money on the 4th of July?
- The day before the 4th is huge for food and beverage shops
- Which types of food and beverage shops make the most during the 4th?
- Is the 4th of July big for restaurants?
- Is the 4th of July big for bars and lounges?
- Where do Americans spend the most at food and beverage businesses during the 4th?
Main street businesses across all industries frequently rely on holidays to drive big business throughout the year.
But does the Fourth of July move the needle for Main Street? Or is Independence Day a dud for local small businesses?
We analyzed transaction data from 2018 at over 80,000 local businesses to find out just how big the Fourth of July is for small businesses across America.
When the 4th of July falls in the middle of the week, it makes for an extra busy weekday at several types of local businesses
As we dug into our initial findings, a couple of things jumped out right away:
- July 3rd was pretty busy for a Wednesday last year at many types of local businesses
- The week of the 4th is huge for several types of local businesses in the food and beverage industries
It’s perhaps not surprising to discover the 4th is a slow day—many local businesses close their doors for the day, and most customers are spending time celebrating with family and friends.
But what about the day before the 4th?
As we state above, it’s a huge day for local food and beverage businesses, but which types of businesses benefit the most from the holiday? And by how much?
Keep reading to find out.
4th of July celebrations equals big business for grocery stores
The 4th of July is practically synonymous with backyard BBQs and family cookouts, so if you were thinking grocery saw sales spike as people stocked up for the 4th in 2019, you’re spot on.
Last year the 3rd and 4th fell on a Wednesday and a Thursday, but the holiday falling on a weekday didn’t stop locals from flooding grocery stores to stock up on supplies. Here’s what those two days looked like at the average grocery store in our analysis.
As you can see, July 3rd and July 4th brought huge increases in average revenue compared to a typical weekday. In fact the 4th of July was the #4 biggest average revenue day of the entire year (trailing only Christmas Eve, New Year’s Eve, and the Saturday before Thanksgiving).
As you can see, local grocery stores not only saw an increase in the number of customers in the door (36 average transactions on July 3rd, and 38 average transactions on July 4th), but customers also spent more per ticket on both days as well.
The 4th of July is even bigger for Butcher Shops
While most Americans stock up on supplies for their backyard BBQ at their local grocery store or supermarket, the most serious grillmasters still head to their local butcher to make sure they get only the finest cuts of meat to celebrate America’s birthday.
Here’s a look at how the average butcher shop and meat market did during the 3rd and 4th of July in 2019:
Both July 3rd and July 4th were huge for local butcher shops. July 3rd was slightly more profitable than the 4th, almost entirely due to a huge increase in average ticket size on the 3rd.
This suggests that while butcher shops are slightly busier on the 4th of July (43 average transactions compared to 40 on the 3rd), those shoppers who get their meats the day in advance might be splurging on finer cuts than last-minute shoppers.
Americans also like to go out for dinner and drinks around the 4th of July
It would appear that after customers spend their July 3rd buying supplies for the next day’s festivities, they prefer to take the night off by dining out or grabbing a drink at the local watering hole.
Independence Day at local bars and lounges:
Bars and lounges are usually quite slow on weekdays, relying on big weekends to drive most of their business. However, it is clear that Americans aren’t shy about visiting their local bar to toast Independence Day with a nice cold one, no matter what day of the week the holiday falls:
As you can see, both the 3rd and the 4th saw huge increases in average revenue compared to the typical weekday. This is entirely due to increases in foot traffic, as transactions are up on both days, but ticket size saw a tiny increase on the 3rd and a slight decrease on the 4th.
Independence Day 2020 is almost certainly going to be a different story, however. As we’ve already reported, the coronavirus pandemic has been especially hard on bars and lounges, and with cases spiking throughout the month of June, several states have begun to renew restrictions on local bars and lounges.
Independence Day at local restaurants:
The 3rd and 4th of July also saw restaurants doing more business than they’d otherwise experience during the middle of the week.
As you can see, restaurants are quite a bit busier than usual on July 3rd, perhaps as Americans decide to take the day off from cooking before the big backyard BBQ on the 4th.
The 4th of July itself actually saw foot traffic fall back down to closer to what you’d expect on a typical weekday, but average ticket size was way up. This suggests that when people go out to eat on the 4th the may be more likely to be in larger parties or splurging a bit by eating at a more expensive restaurant or ordering the steak and lobster with dessert.
Americans love celebrating Independence Day by hitting the links
Independence Day is the summer holiday in America, and it’s pretty clear that millions of America use the time off and the (presumably) good weather to play a round of eighteen.
Both July 3rd and 4th saw huge increases in revenue compared to a typical weekday. Unlike the categories above, golf courses didn’t see revenue drop down to more average levels during the weekend after the holiday, though. In fact, Friday, July 5th was the 5th biggest average revenue day of the entire year at local golf courses nationwide:
This is an extremely impressive feat, considering just how big Saturdays are for local golf courses, which leads us to believe that a lot of Americans took an extra day off after the 4th and got in a round (or another round) of golf.
With the 4th of July falling on a Saturday this year, we expect Friday, July 3rd to be an extremely busy day for golf courses around the country (except for courses facing restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic).
What will Independence Day 2020 look like for local businesses?
As you can see, the week of the 4th of July is huge for local small businesses in many categories. This year, of course, will likely look quite different thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. Particularly at bars and restaurants, where surging cases in many states have seen local officials rolling back restrictions.
Local food and beverage business owners, meanwhile, should expect to see the same kinds of surges they’ve grown accustomed to throughout this pandemic.
We’ll be keeping a close eye on how this year’s 4th of July pans out, so keep an eye on our data dashboard report as well as future reports and analyses by our Womply Research team.