Essential Pittsburgh
4:13 pm
Tue July 2, 2013

The Business of the 4th of July

Fireworks are more than entertainment- they're big business on the fourth.
Credit Flickr

For most people, the fourth of July is the last day to think about business. However, there's big money to be made in the celebration of our nation's independence.

Essential Pittsburgh business contributor Rebecca Harris broke down the tremendous amounts of money Americans drop on what we've come to think of as necessities for this patriotic summer holiday. The sums are eye-popping.

One of the biggest earners on the fourth are fireworks companies. Harris cites the fact that Americans spent nearly $318 million on consumer fireworks for the holiday as definitive evidence of the major impact the holiday has.

But beyond fireworks, all the outdoor grilling Americans do -- and an estimated 87% of Americans grill outside on the fourth -- has a big effect as well. As Harris notes, "that's big business, grills are expensive." 

But it's what Americans are putting on the grill that is really impressive. In 2012, Americans purchased 150 million hot dogs, 700 million pounds of chickens, and a whopping 190 million pounds of red meat and pork to cook on their grills.

One place where consumption is estimated to drop, however, is on car travel. Harris says with the mixture of the sequester, the Thursday celebration, and the increased price of gas, Americans are not likely to be taking as many holiday road trips this year. For a local event that'll take less gas to get to, Harris recommends the regatta and fireworks display downtown.

She also says, above all, most Americans value the fourth for the quality time they get to spend with friends and family, as 39% of Americans said that their favorite part was the day off.

Although that's not a stat Harris is in line with.

"I think I would choose the fireworks."