Retailers will be feeling the luck o’ the Irish this Spring, as consumers hit the stores for their favorite green goods. According to the National Retail Federation’s 2006 St. Patrick’s Day Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey, consumers will spend an estimated $2.69 billion on St. Patrick’s Day – up significantly from $1.94 billion last year. The average person will spend $27.94, increased from $22.95 in 2005.

“With the popularity of the holiday increasing, St. Patrick’s day has become a tremendous day for restaurants and bars, as well as your traditional retail outlets,” said NRF President and CEO Tracy Mullin. “Even small trinkets can be big sellers as consumers respond favorably to retailers’ special selection of holiday merchandise.”

The reason for the large increase in spending is due in part to more people celebrating the holiday. This year, 43.2% of consumers (96.3 million*) will celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, compared to only 38.5% of consumers who felt the holiday spirit last year. Wearing green remains one of the most popular ways to celebrate, with 82.4% of those surveyed planning to don their green apparel.

Other ways consumers plan to join in on the festivities include going to a bar or restaurant (24.7%), decorating their home or office (19.9%) or attending a party (15.9%). Yet not everyone plans on heading out, with 31 percent of those polled planning on making a special dinner at home.

Consumers of all ages will be enjoying St. Patrick’s Day this year; however it will be the 25 – 34 age group that does the splurging, with average per person spending expected to be $31.64.

“This holiday is definitely a boost for retailers, thanks to the 25 – 34 year-old age group,” said Phil Rist, Vice President of Strategy for BIGresearch. “Restaurants and bars will benefit greatly from this group’s increased spending power.”