Firework sales hit all-time high despite pandemic and inflation
WEST COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) – The pyrotechnic industry has “skyrocketed” since 2020, and a global pandemic is responsible.
“Because of COVID, the fireworks industry just took off. Everybody was stuck at home, they wanted to do fireworks. Now, that tradition is there and people are doing it,” said Mike Hughes, owner and operator of Discount Fireworks in West Columbia.
Despite the record-breaking business, Hughes is observing the negative impacts of inflation from his side of the counter. The American Pyrotechnics Association reports costs across the industry are up 35% from last year.
In 2020, a 40-foot shipping container of fireworks cost $8,000-$9,000 to ship from China to Charleston. Today, the same shipping container costs $40,000-$44,000, according to Hughes.
And while the cost of ocean freight has more than quadrupled since COVID-19, it is compensated by an unprecedented number of customers.
“[My budget] is around $400. I usually have the same budget every year. But we were under $400 this trip… I’m not really that upset,” said newlyweds Maddie and Adam Abbott of Lexington.
When WIS joined Hughes Friday afternoon, he and his family were unloading a cargo trailer packed with fireworks for restock. Over Independence Day weekend, at least six additional trailers will be cleared.
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