March 24, 2021
Easter spending expects to be highest on record

Consumers plan to spend an average of $179.70 this Easter, the highest figure on record, according to results of the annual survey released today by the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics. A total of 79% of Americans will celebrate the holiday and spend a collective $21.6 billion, down slightly from last year’s pre-pandemic forecast of $21.7 billion.

“With new stimulus funds from the President’s American Rescue Plan, positive trends in vaccinations and growing consumer confidence, there is a lot of momentum heading into the Spring and holiday events like Easter,” said president and CEO Matthew Shay for NRF. “Many have figured out how to celebrate holidays safely with family and that is reflected in consumer spending this Easter.”

Easter gifts, food and candy are the biggest drivers of growth this year. Consumers plan to spend an average of $31.06 on gifts (up from $27.91 in 2020), $52.50 on food (up from $51.76) and $25.22 on candy (up from $23.30).

As more and more individuals become vaccinated, consumers are planning to celebrate in ways they might have missed last year due to COVID-19. The newest CDC guidance on gatherings means some families might be able to plan a festive meal with vaccinated family members or take advantage of warmer weather and gather outside.

Holiday related activities

This year, consumers plan to mark the holiday by cooking a holiday meal (59%), visiting with family and friends (43%), watching TV (43%), planning an Easter egg hunt (31%) or attending church (28%). However, not everyone is ready to resume in-person activities, with 22% indicating they will attend church virtually and 24% saying they will connect with their loved ones by phone or video.

“Keep in mind that last year’s survey was conducted in early March before the pandemic forced most of the country to shut down and reflects consumers’ pre-pandemic plans,” Phil Rist, executive vice president of strategy for Prosper Insights said. “This year’s numbers reflect not just consumers’ resilience in the last 12 months but also the enduring popularity of Easter.”

Where consumers will shop…

For those looking to purchase Easter-related items, 48% will shop at discount stores, 35% will visit department stores, 35% will make purchases online, 23% will go to a specialty store and 23% will go to a small business or local store. Similar to other holiday events during the pandemic, this year’s online shopping figure (35%) is the highest in survey history, up from 28% last year.

While not everyone plans to celebrate, plenty of shoppers will be on the hunt for Easter-related sales. More than half (52%) of those who don’t celebrate Easter still plan to take advantage of these deals and expect to spend an average of $21.11 (up from $17.64 in 2020). The most popular item is candy, which respondents have shown transcends across age, gender and disposable incomes.

The survey of 8,111 consumers was conducted Mar. 1-8 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.1% points.

NRF did not release its 2020 Easter survey, which was conducted in early March 2020, just before government-mandated closures took place. Due to the timing, the survey reflects consumers’ pre-pandemic plans.

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