Jun 29, 2022 - News

Fourth of July fireworks prices skyrocket in the Philly metro

A photo of large red fireworks erupting over the Philadelphia Art Museum on July 4, 2021.
Independence Day fireworks erupt over the Philadelphia Art Museum on July 4, 2021. Photo: Mark Makela/Getty Images

Philadelphians looking to buy Fourth of July fireworks may face hiked prices and potentially less variety this year, according to Phantom Fireworks CEO Bruce Zoldan.

  • Zoldan tells Axios that they had to raise prices around 30% due to higher shipping and labor costs.

The big picture: Inflation is driving up prices for most summer activities, from airline travel to children's camps to fireworks, Axios' Emily Peck and Kelly Tyko report.

  • The fireworks industry has seen shipping costs increase since 2019 from around $10,000 to $45,000 per shipping container, according to the American Pyrotechnics Association.
  • "In many cases, the cost of shipping was more than the cost of the goods in the container," Zoldan says, noting that the majority of fireworks are imported to the U.S. from China.

Between the lines: Zoldan adds that his company is having to pay "more for the labor we can get."

  • "If you want to have employees ... the only way you can get them is to pay more money and you still can't get enough," he says.

Despite price hikes, Zoldan says sales are about the same as last year.

  • While there's been less pre-holiday shopping so far, he expects that to change as many delay purchases until just before their celebration.
  • Some may opt to celebrate at home this year due to rising travel costs.
  • Zoldan notes that shelves are full now in their showrooms — including the three just outside Philly in Penndel, Lansdale and Upland — but the hot-selling items will likely be gone in the next two to three days. And, long lines are likely to start July 1.
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