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03/24/2021

Average Easter Spending Anticipated to Be Highest Ever

Gifts, food and candy identified as biggest growth drivers in 2021
Bridget Goldschmidt
Managing Editor
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Average Easter Spending Anticipated to be Highest Ever National Retail Federation
Although not everyone plans to celebrate Easter, lots of shoppers will avail themselves of holiday sales, with candy chosen as the most popular item by respondents to NRF and Prosper Insights & Analytics' annual survey.

Consumers intend to spend an average of $179.70 this coming Easter, the highest figure ever recorded, an annual survey from the National Retail Federation (NRF) and Worthington, Ohio-based Prosper Insights & Analytics has found. According to the survey, 79% of Americans will observe the holiday and spend a collective $21.6 billion, a slight dip from last year's pre-pandemic prediction 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 Matthew Shay, president and CEO of Washington, D.C.-based 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 were identified as the biggest growth drivers in 2021, with consumers planning to spend an average of $31.06 on gifts (up from $27.91 last year), $52.50 on food (up from $51.76), and $25.22 on candy (up from $23.30).

This year, as more and more people get the vaccine, consumers plan to celebrate Easter by cooking a holiday meal (59%), visiting family and friends (43%), watching TV (43%), holding an Easter egg hunt (31%) or going to church (28%), although 22% said they would attend services virtually and 24% indicated that they would connect with loved ones via phone or video.

For those who want to buy Easter-related items, 48% plan to shop at discount stores, 35% will go to department stores, 35% will make purchases online, 23% will visit specialty stores, and 23% will seek out a small business or local store. In line with other holiday events during the pandemic, this year’s online shopping figure (35%) is the highest in survey history, up from 28% in 2020.

Although not everyone plans to celebrate, lots of shoppers will avail themselves of Easter sales. More than half (52%) of those who don’t observe the holiday still intend to take advantage of the deals and expect to spend an average of $21.11 (up from $17.64 last year). The most popular item is candy, transcending age, gender and amount of disposable income.

The survey of 8,111 consumers took place March 1-8 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.1 percentage points. NRF’s unreleased 2020 Easter survey, conducted in early March 2020, just before government-mandated closures took place, reflected consumers’ pre-pandemic plans.