Numerator: Over 50% of Consumers Plan to Celebrate Memorial Day Weekend

A look at consumer behavior leading into the holiday weekend.

May 23, 2024

Nearly three in five U.S. 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 research company Numerator.

The survey showed that the top celebration plans include gathering with family and friends (57% of respondents), grilling/barbecuing (52%), cooking or baking at home (29%), hosting others at their home (17%) and attending a public celebration (13%).

Additionally, more people are looking to get out of the house for Memorial Day weekend this year. Compared to what consumers said they did in 2023, more plan to attend a public celebration, travel and go out to eat (all up 2% compared to the year before) this year. This follows the release of AAA travel predictions, which predicted the second highest travel forecast for the holiday since 2000, with 43.8 million travelers.

Numerator also stated that the holiday could see slightly higher spending this year, with 68% of Memorial Day shoppers planning to spend under $100 on their holiday supplies, though nearly a quarter (23%) expect to spend more this year than they did last year.

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%). 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% across all generations), while Boomers are the most likely generation to opt for wine (51% vs. 42% average).

Consumer purchase data also showed that beer typically sees a boost in sales leading up to the holiday weekend. In the week leading up to Memorial Day 2023, beer saw a 19% unit increase from the week prior, and nearly one in three U.S. households (30%) purchased beer in that timeframe.