PhotoWith Easter nearly three weeks later this year than last, the National Retail Federation (NRF) is forecasting that consumers will spend more than ever to celebrate.

NRF’s annual survey, conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics, projects spending will reach $18.4 billion -- 6% more than last year’s record $17.3 billion. That works out to an average of $152 per person -- up 4% from last year’s record of $146.

More time means more spending

“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.”

Consumers, the survey finds, will spend $5.8 billion on food (purchased by 87% of shoppers), $3.3 billion on clothing (50%), $2.9 billion on gifts (61%), $2.6 billion on candy (89%), $1.2 billion on flowers (39%), $1.1 billion on decorations (43%), and $788 million on greeting cards (48%).

Discount stores are still king

Fifty-eight percent of would-be shoppers say they'll be heading for discount stores, 46% will go to department stores, and 26% shop at local small businesses. Additionally, 27% will shop online, up 6% from last year. Among smartphone owners, 28% will research products on their devices while 18% will actually use them to make a purchase. Another 9% will use apps to do their research or purchase products.

“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.”

The survey, which asked 7,411 consumers about their Easter Sunday plans, was conducted March 1-9 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.2 percentage points.


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