Retailers eyeing record Easter spending of $18.4 billion

by Kim Souza ([email protected]) 309 views 

A late Easter this year is expected to net retailers a record payday according to the National Retail Federation. The retail trade group expects consumers to dole out $18.4 billion in connection with the Easter holiday on April 16.

Spending is expected to be 6% more than last year, setting another record for the Spring holiday. NRF expects the average consumer will spend $152 per person, up 4% from the $146 they spend a year ago.

“Most consumers have almost an entire extra month to shop for Easter this year, and by the time the holiday comes the weather should be significantly warmer than last Easter,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “That should put shoppers in the frame of mind to splurge on spring apparel along with Easter decorations. With the economy improving, consumers are ready to shop and retailers are ready to offer great deals whether they’re buying Easter baskets or garden tools.”

The biggest expenditure will be on food as 87% of consumers surveyed said they will splurge on an Easter meal. Food spending is expected to top $5.8 billion. Apparel retailers are also expected to be big winners with 50% of consumers buying new clothes for a total expected spend of $3.3 billion, up 9% from a year ago and the highest level in a decade.

More than half (61%) of consumers said they will buy Easter gifts ranging from stuffed rabbits to festive baskets and live bunnies. Gift spending is expected to reach $2.9 billion this year. Candy is another big purchase for shoppers at Easter with 89% of consumers planning to spend a total $2.6 billion on sugary confections.

Other large expenditures for consumers this Easter include $1.2 billion spent on flowers and $1.1 billion on holiday decorations by 43% of consumers surveyed.

Consumers were asked where and how they plan to do their Easter shopping this year and 58% said they will head to discount stores such as Walmart, or off-price clothiers like TJ Maxx and Ross Stores. Department stores are also expected to see a fair number of shoppers with 46% saying they will shop traditional department store chains like J.C. Penney, Dillard’s and Belk.

About one in four shoppers plans to spend part of the holiday budget with local small businesses and 27% plan to shop online, compared to 21% a year ago.

“Easter continues to be a traditional holiday for consumers of all ages, especially young families who are planning to spend a bit more for this celebration,” Prosper Principal Analyst Pam Goodfellow said. “With the later timing of Easter, we will see more consumers shopping for special deals, especially on apparel and decorations.”