As the Fourth of July approaches, Americans are buying fireworks like never before. The US fireworks industry reported a record $2.3 billion in revenue from individuals in 2022, a number that dwarfed its $400 million in commercial sales. Consumer fireworks revenue has more than tripled since 2012, when it stood at just $645 million.
Expecting another record year in 2023, the fireworks industry projects that sales will top $3.3 billion by 2028.
During the covid pandemic, when revenue from corporate and government sales of fireworks dropped by 75% in 2020 compared to 2019, they became a popular form of entertainment for households, whose purchases grew by 90% over the same period.
More than 95% of fireworks sold in 2020 were to individual consumers, according to the American Pyrotechnics Association. The massive growth of consumer fireworks sales has only continued, with revenue 143% higher last year than it was in 2018.
Massachusetts is the lone state that bans all consumer fireworks. Because of the dangers associated with lighting and handling them, the state government prefers to “leave fireworks to the professionals.” Vermont and Illinois only allow wire or wood stick sparklers and other novelty items.
Fireworks started 12,264 known fires in the US in 2021, including 2,082 structure fires, 316 vehicle fires, and 9,866 outside and other fires, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). Children under age 15 made up about a quarter of the nation’s fireworks-related injuries that year. The NFPA estimates that fireworks might start some 19,000 fires annually in the US.