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Inflation hits cookouts and pool parties this Fourth of July

Some party staples are up in price, but some items are less expensive than in 2023.
Hats with an American flag design.
Posted at 5:06 PM, Jun 28, 2024

If you're gearing up for a Fourth of July bash, be warned consumers across the country may be hit with the star-spangled sting of inflation.

Anyone preparing for a July Fourth celebration is going to see a mixed bag in terms of prices. Some party staples are way up in price, and higher than the 3.3% annual rate of inflation reported by the U.S. Department of Labor in June.

"Condiments like ketchup, mayo and relish and even hot dogs are all up quite a bit in price year over year, about 6-10%," said data expert Dallin Hatch, with the ecommerce accelerator Pattern.

Pattern tracks the prices of millions of products sold online, particularly through Amazon. Its experts zoomed in on go-to items for Fourth of July celebrations.

They found some items dropped in price while others went up, such as sunscreen, which experienced a sharp increase of 31%.

Related Story: Annual inflation rate cools to 3.3% but remains well above Federal Reserve's target

"Which is not totally surprising," Hatch said, "Obviously, there's a lot of folks feeling the heat wave right now going on around the country. There's a chance that supply chains might have not been ready to handle the demand that was out there."

Other items up in price, according to Pattern:

  • Pool toys (+3%)
  • Pool floats (+2%)
  • Sparklers (+1%)

Items that cost less compared to last year:

  • Plasticware (-7%)
  • Water Guns (-5%)
  • Fireworks (-2%)
  • Inflatable Pools (-1%)

Hatch said many beverage items, from sodas and Capri-Sun to beer and wine, are the same price as last year, or lower.
"If you happen to be the one bringing the drinks, you may actually be a little happier," Hatch said, "in terms of that year over year change in price."

American flags also dropped in price, down about 12%.

To save money, Hatch said to consider off-brand products, stocking up sooner rather than later, and if you don't need something right away, wait until the off-season to buy it such as pool toys or red, white and blue accessories.

"It's definitely not unusual to see prices go down after an event," he said. "It's also not unusual to see prices a little bit high going into it if it's a very seasonal kind of item."