St Paddy’s Day Celebrations Reveal Nuanced Consumer Needs and Behaviors

Rebekah Paul |
 03/17/23 |
5 min read


The luck of the Irish is upon us again—a time of great festivity, purchases, and posts about green food items and other similarly hued things. And within these considerable online discussions are nuanced consumer expressions of this Irish celebration. They can guide brands toward targeting specific audiences to increase brand awareness on this attention-grabbing day!

Using social listening, we’ll explore:

  • Consumer conversation surrounding St. Patrick’s Day
  • Nuanced conversations happening in the U.S, across the pond in Ireland
  • Identifying emerging trends in conversations to guide marketing efforts

And if you’re not already taking advantage of this one day where everyone’s Irish, you are missing out, as these stats reveal:

  • 5 million Americans claim Irish ancestry, second only to German and 6.4 times Ireland’s population.
  • On St. Patrick’s Day, there is a 174% increase in beer sales compared to the rest of the year, and 153% more spirits are sold compared with the average day.
  • It’s expected that $6.85 billion will be spent collectively on St. Patrick’s Day 2023 ($44 per person celebrating).
  • And 31% of Americans plan to cook a special meal on St. Patrick’s Day.

It’s clear that this holiday holds exceptional potential for brands everywhere to get their products, and their brands, in front of eager consumers—assuming they can find a relevant way to their hearts.

Offering items and services that resonate with your audience is critical to success on March 17th. As is understanding regional differences. Your audience in Boston may seek something very different from your Ireland audience, and so on. Social listening can help locate any subtle (and not-so-subtle) nuances and direct your marketing strategy. Let’s explore!

St. Patrick’s Day Holds Consumer Attention

St. Patty’s Day has always been an excellent excuse to have a good time, whether you’re Irish or not. As the saying goes, “Everyone’s Irish on St. Patrick’s Day.” Consumers begin planning their days long before March 17th rolls around. And part of planning involves talking online with friends and family about their plans and what they’re looking forward to.

But they talk about more than that. Consumers use social media to shop for novel items too. In the US alone, over 96 million people use social media to purchase goods.

Amd what are they looking for this Saint Patty’s Day?

Social listening reveals a large conversation. Top clusters show parades are on everyone’s mind, as is anything four-leaf clover. This cluster includes conversations on candy, jewelry, clothes, and more—consumers can’t get enough of this lucky green leaf:

st patricks day conversation clusters

Other clusters of note are St. Paddy’s Day Contests and McDonald’s Shamrock Shake. And we can see where these conversations are happening. The United States takes up 68% of the St. Paddy’s Day conversation.

There’s no arguing that Americans have embraced this Irish holiday—with Chicago having one of the largest celebrations. That being said, Ireland moves into first place for mentions per capita.

global st paddys day conversation

These online discussions reveal what consumers discuss and the products they’re about to buy. The metrics above act like maps guiding brands in the right direction, so they can provide the precise products and services that their audiences seek.

However, what your consumers in the U.S. want will likely differ, sometimes significantly, from what your consumers in Ireland desire. Understanding this is vital to dial in your marketing strategy.

Understanding What Resonates with Audience Segments

There can also be subtle nuances between your audiences, and it’s critical to pick up on these as well, as they guide messaging. There’s no use offering leprechaun t-shirts in the UK if the conversation for them is only found in the US. You’ll miss your target entirely and waste time and money doing it.

Below, social listening reveals top ‘things’ consumers talk about in Ireland within the St. Patrick’s Day conversation.

Shamrock Rovers are incredibly popular. And when we dig beneath, we understand why—they’ll a football team that will be playing against St. Patrick’s Athletic on St. Paddy’s Day. So, naturally, consumers in Ireland are excited and making plans for this timely event.

shamrock rovers and other relevant terms

Surrounding that conversation, we see others concerned mainly with food or food establishments. And this sounds like an excellent opportunity for food and beverage companies to market their products—but you’ll need to dive deeper into the conversation to know what the audience wants.

How does this conversation change when we apply it to the US? Let’s take a look!

McDonald’s appears to have done well with marketing a popular item to the masses—namely, its Shamrock Shake. There’s even some talk of March being referred to as ‘Shamrock Shake Season.’

shamrock shake and related terms and conversation

But it’s not enough to find out what people are talking about—brands need to discover which topics garner the most attention.

Uncovering Trends in Conversations to Inform Brand Marketing Strategy

Just because a topic is mentioned often doesn’t mean it’s earning top engagement. And as you likely know already, engagement is what drives conversation. Without it, your message or post is dead in the water.

Consumers talk about things in many ways. Sometimes they opt for emojis or hashtags instead of long-from text. In fact, hashtags are another language all on their own. And for marketers, they can be the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. They offer insights into how consumers are talking. Locating trending hashtags with the most engagement can be integral to reaching the right audience.

We can look at our conversation on St. Patrick’s Day and find out what posts, people, brands, top terms, things, and emojis drive top engagements across the UK and compare it to other geographies.

Below, we’ve filtered our conversation to show emerging trends within hashtags in the UK. Our social listening capabilities apply a trend score to each hashtag, indicating its popularity.

A score between 1 and 100 denotes an upward trend. The score combines several elements, such as the volume and percentage change from the previous period. This way, brands can quickly identify various trends, including new and developing, sustaining, and reemerging trends. #Win is a popular hashtag—and it’s centered around giveaways. #Fourleafclover is trending positively as well:

hashtag st paddys day conversation

And this hashtag is used in a variety of ways to describe posts:

Additionally, #fourleafclover is trending in the U.S.—showing that sometimes people from across the globe do have similar ways of talking about a singular event:

But you won’t know if your marketing strategy in the UK will automatically carry over to another continent unless you monitor it. Monitoring conversations across geographic lines and segmenting them according to their location is critical.

Another step in developing the right messaging is understanding why something is trending. And a sentiment analysis can help brands separate the wheat from the chaff. It informs brands of sentiments attached to words, attributes, behaviors, and things.

attributes in st paddys day conversations

Taking a trending topic at face value without knowing what sentiments drive it can alienate an otherwise engaged audience. The best social media listening tools will have a built-in sentiment analysis, so you’re never misled.

If you want to see social listening that slices and dices the data down to a granular level and find that pot of gold, reach out for a demo!

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