There's just one week left until Easter and business owners should be preparing for a busy holiday weekend. The National Retail Federation (NRF) recently conducted a survey to see how much consumers were planning to spend on Easter for 2018. While this year's estimates didn't break any records, they did provide a strong indication that consumers plan to do some serious shopping for Easter.

According to the annual NRF survey, Easter spending is expected to total $18.2 billion this year, almost on par from a record $18.4 billion in 2017, which still represents the second-highest level on record. Four out of five (81 percent) Americans will celebrate the holiday and they will spend an average of $150 per person, down slightly from last year's previous record of $152.

One might assume that much of this spending would be on candy and toys for kids, but Easter generates economic activity in other ways. While food accounts for about a third of the planned Easter spending, many consumers plan to buy other items. According to the survey, consumers will spend $5.7 billion on food (purchased by 87 percent of shoppers), $3.2 billion on clothing (48 percent), $2.9 billion on gifts (61 percent), $2.6 billion on candy (89 percent), $1.3 billion on flowers (39 percent), $1.1 billion on decorations (42 percent) and $780 million on greeting cards (46 percent).

"Despite a modest drop, the Easter forecast is still very positive and nearly as high as last year's record," said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay. "Consumer spending remains healthy both for this holiday and this spring, and that paints an optimistic picture for the U.S. economy in the year ahead."

The NRF's survey of more than 7,700 consumers found that Easter shoppers will visit a diverse range of stores to get the things they need for the holiday. In preparation for the Easter holiday, 59 percent of consumers will shop at discount stores, 46 percent will visit department stores, 28 percent will make purchases online, 25 percent will go to a specialty store and 25 percent will go to a small business or local store.

Marketing for Easter doesn't require business owners to use any special tactics, but there is some indication that a large number of consumers will rely on their mobile devices to help them shop. Among the smartphone users in the NRF study, 30 percent said they will research products or compare prices on their devices while 19 percent will use their phones to make a purchase.

The NRF report also found that consumers intend to celebrate Easter in a variety of ways, while some are more common than other. Three out of five (60 percent) will visit family and friends, 58 percent will cook a holiday meal, 51 percent will go to church and 17 percent will go to a restaurant. The Easter Bunny is expected to have a busy holiday season, with more than a third (35 percent) of consumers saying they will participate in an Easter egg hunt and 16 percent who will open gifts.

Easter may almost be here, but there's still time for business owners to put together campaigns to attract last-minute shoppers and those shopping directly on Easter Sunday. The data from the NRF report was collected in early March, so many of the people who said they planned to spend for Easter haven't had a chance to do so.

For more recent research that can help business owners and marketers prepare better marketing campaigns, read this article on the power of video marketing for global audiences.

Published on: Mar 26, 2018