Easter Spending to Jump Past $16 Billion in 2012

March 23, 2012 | In the 2012 edition of its Easter Consumer Spending Survey, the National Retail Federation (NRF) predicts that consumers will spend an estimated $16.8 billion on Easter-related merchandise in 2012, up from $14.6 billion last year, as Easter spending grows to reach pre-recession (2007) levels in key categories. 

Conducted by BIGinsight, the annual survey estimates that the average U.S. consumer will spend $145.28 – an 11% increase over last year’s $131.04 – on everything from candy to clothes.  Consumers are expected to spend an average of $20.57 on Easter gifts, such as toys – up from $19.89 in 2011, $18.16 in 2010, and $17.30 in 2009.

“Though the price of gas is on everyone’s mind, Easter is one of the few holidays some consumers are willing to stretch their budgets, especially because many children look forward to treats and new outfits on Easter morning,” stated NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay in a press release. “Retailers will make sure to offer plenty of promotions on candy, apparel, food and decorations in the coming weeks for eager holiday shoppers.”

“Beautiful weather conditions coupled with a slight lift in consumer confidence will likely be a boon to the Easter holiday this year,” added BIGinsight Consumer Insights Director Pam Goodfellow.

Spending on colorful fashion/accessories and candy is expected to reach $3 billion and $2 billion respectively, with nearly half (48.5%) taking advantage of spring sales on clothing and the majority (89.3%) stocking up on treats from chocolate eggs to jelly beans. The average shopper is expected to spend $26.11 (up from $21.51) on apparel and $20.35 (up from $18.55) on candy, reports NRF.

Most consumers (63.5%) will opt to pick up their goodies at local discount stores; however, department stores will see 42.6% of this year’s Easter shoppers – the highest percentage since the NRF began conducting this survey. Online retailers will see a jump, too, with $18.7% of shoppers using the Internet to purchase their goods, up from 14.8% in 2011 and 11.1% in 2008.  

Among Easter shoppers who own tablets, more than half (52.3%) will use their tech devices to research and purchase festive merchandise, while 15.3% will use apps for their holiday shopping needs. A little less than half (43.3%) of smartphone users celebrating Easter will use their mobile devices to research and/or purchase items.

The NRF 2012 Easter Consumer spending survey polled 9,242 consumers from March 6-13, 2012. Total spending is based on extrapolation of U.S. population 18 and older. The consumer poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.0 percent. The complete survey results are available for download.