Looks like many Americans can't wait for spring, and are craving a sweeter Easter on April 4. A new survey from the National Retail Federation forecasts $13.03 billion in Easter spending this year, with the average person spending about $118.60 -- up a bit from $116.59 last year.
The study, conducted by BIGResearch, found that while spending on most of the popular Easter categories will remain more or less the same, candy is a big winner -- with the average person spending $17.29 on jelly beans, chocolate bunnies, and marshmallow chicks, up from $16.55 last year. Gift spending has also risen a bit -- climbing to $18.16 on gifts, up from $17.30 last holiday season.
For families that celebrate, food continues to be the major expense, with the average person spending $37.45, followed by clothing ($19.03), and flowers ($7.84). And the survey, based on responses from nearly 8,300 adults, indicates that people will be watching their budgets closely, with most Americans planning to shop at discount stores (64.8%). About 33.2% will shop at department stores.
By age group, 25- to-34-year-olds -- those most likely to have small children -- say they will spend the most: $136.79. Young adults (18 to 24) plan to spend an average of $125.85, followed by 35- to-44-year-olds ($124.66), 45- to-54-year-olds ($117.54), 55- to-64-year-olds ($106.82) and those 65+ ($98.72).
Easter candy purchases tend to be fairly traditional: The National Confectioners Association says that about 88% of Americans create baskets for their kids, filling them with 90 million chocolate bunnies (76% of us eat the ears first) and 16 billion jelly beans (red is the favorite color).
Some marketers focus on the nostalgic. Williams-Sonoma, for example, is pushing a handcrafted German papier-mâché egg, decoupaged with early 20-century designs, and filled with chocolate and jelly beans.
But there are signs of shifting preferences. Hershey says that while 61% of Americans describe chocolate rabbits as the single "must have" for the holiday, the majority of younger consumers -- those 18 to 34 -- actually prefer chocolate eggs. This year, Hershey's is offering new variations on its classics, including a five-ounce Solid Milk Chocolate Princess Bunny, Cookies 'n' Crème Bunnies, and Hershey's Bliss Milk Chocolate Bunnies with a Meltaway Center, as well as several new egg products.
And of course, some standbys are always reinventing themselves: Peeps, the marshmallow candies marketed by Just Born, says it has partnered with Rita's Italian Ices this spring to create Peeps Ice, a marshmallow-flavored Italian Ice.