Whether it's due to a very late Easter or a jelly bean-hungry consumer, holiday spending is expected to rise to $14.6 billion, according to the latest poll from the National Retail Federation. That works out to about $131.04 for the average consumer, a considerable hop from last year's $118.60, but still not quite at pre-recession spending levels.
The biggest outlays are expected to be for food and candy, with Americans spending about $4.5 billion in food and $2.1 billion in candy. Both represent an increase from the prior year, with consumers saying they plan to spend $40.05 on food -- up from $37.45 last year -- and $18.55 on candy, compared to $17.29 last year.
The NRF survey, conducted by BIGresearch and based on responses from more than 8,000 adults, also found that consumers are likely to spend $21.51 on apparel -- up from last year's $19.03, totaling $2.4 billion in sales.
"Due to such a late holiday, Easter promotions will last all spring long," says NRF President/CEO Matthew Shay, in its release. "Though lingering concerns over food and energy prices may keep shoppers from splurging, retailers are expecting consumers to stock up on apparel, home décor and of course food and candy, a good sign leading into the much busier and important months to come."
The last time Easter fell this late in the calendar was 1943, it says.
Those in the 25- to-34-year-old age group, who are most likely to have small children, say they plan to spend the most ($173.41 vs. $136.79 last year). Women, overall, are more likely to take part -- 84% say they will celebrate Easter this year, versus 77% of men. By region, the holiday has the most fans in the Midwest, with an 84% participation level, and least observed in the West, with 76% taking part.