St. Patrick’s Day is a Part of Marketing Research History

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"Guinness" by Sami Keinänen - Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.Whether you believe that St Patrick really did drive the snakes out of Ireland or not, March 17th is the traditional day for shamrocks, shillelaghs, leprechauns, and the wearin’ o’ the green. What does marketing research have to do with St. Patrick’s Day?

More than you might think! In fact, William Sealy Gossett developed the famous Student’s t-distribution (or t-test) to monitor the quality of Guinness Stout (He published it as the Student’s t-distribution because Guinness had a policy prohibiting employees from publishing).

So, in true marketing research fashion, here are some statistics to help you celebrate!

  • In 2012, it was estimated that U.S. beer brewers would earn $245M in St. Patrick’s Day sales alone
  • On an ordinary day, about 5.5 million pints of Guinness are consumed around the world. Double that for St. Patrick’s Day consumption.
  • In the U.S., 36.9 million residents have Irish heritage, eight times the population of Ireland.ND Leprechaun
    • 24% of Massachusetts residents claim Irish ancestry, double the percentage for the nation as a whole.
    • California has 2.5 million residents claiming Irish ancestry, the highest for any individual state.
    • And, in spite of being the home of the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame, only 11% of the South Bend, IN, population claims Irish ancestry.
  • The record for the largest four-leaf clover collection belongs to Edward Martin, Sr., from Alaska, with 111,060 four-leaf clovers collected over an eight-year span ending in May 2007.
  • Americans spend an average of $38.94 each on St. Patrick’s Day or about $4.5 billion total.
  • St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated by an estimated 39% of the American population (or 122 million people), of those people:
    • 83% wear green
    • 34% make a special dinner
    • 31% attend a party
    • 25% decorate their home or office
  • Savannah, GA boasts one of the nation’s largest St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, annually dying the water in ten of their famous fountains green for the occasion.

So whether you’re in Dublin or Boston or Savannah or wherever you may be, wear a bit ‘o green and don’t get pinched.  Have a happy and safe St. Patrick’s Day!

four leaf clover

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Christian Wright

Christian Wright is the VP of Client Services at Infosurv. With a master’s in marketing research, he’s equipped to design actionable research that yields impactful insights and drives change.