Americans’ Expected Spending on Easter Purchases This Year Hits Record Number

Americans’ Expected Spending on Easter Purchases This Year Hits Record Number

Many consumers plan on returning to pre-pandemic ways of celebrating the holiday
Easter dinner

As the weather grows warmer and more Americans receive the COVID-19 vaccine, this Easter may be the first glimpse of what post-pandemic life looks like — and many can't wait for the opportunity to celebrate with their loved ones.

In its annual Easter spending survey, the National Retail Federation (NRF) and Prosper Insights and Analytics found that American consumers expect to spend an average of $179.70 on holiday-related purchases this Easter — the highest amount on record dating back to 2009.

Consumers spending more on Easter gifts and food this year

This year, almost 8 in 10 Americans (79%) plan on partaking in the springtime celebrations, spending a collective $21.6 billion in the process. This number almost lines up with the survey's expected spending forecast for last year before the pandemic hit — $21.7 billion — indicating that consumers may be confident in their overall outlook for 2021.

Gifts, food and candy lead the way in Easter-related purchases this year, with consumers spending an average of:

  • $31.06 on gifts (versus $27.91 in 2020)
  • $52.50 on food (versus $51.76 in 2020)
  • $25.22 on candy (versus $23.30 in 2020)

The survey also showed that even those who don't plan on celebrating Easter this year will take advantage of the holiday sales. Over 1 in 2 of these respondents (52%) plan on spending an average of $21.11, with candy being the most popular purchase across age, gender and disposable income levels.

Many plan to celebrate Easter in traditional, pre-pandemic ways

Compared to last winter's holiday season, when households hunkered down and tightened their belts in anticipation of the second wave of the COVID-19 crisis, the NRF found that respondents plan to revive pre-pandemic Easter traditions this year. Specifically, this includes:

  • Cooking a holiday meal (59%)
  • Visiting family and friends (43%)
  • Watching TV (43%)
  • Planning an Easter egg hunt (31%)
  • Attending church (28%)

After months of missing holidays and personal milestones with their loved ones, consumers are now making a renewed effort to reconnect with family and friends in 2021.

"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 NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay. "Many have figured out how to celebrate holidays safely with family and that is reflected in consumer spending this Easter."

Still, about 1 in 4 respondents will continue to follow safety guidelines for their Easter celebrations by:

  • Attending church virtually (22%)
  • Connecting with loved ones by phone or video (24%)

Methodology: Retail trade association NRF and Prosper gathered responses from 8,111 consumers from March 1-8, 2021. They also conducted last year's Easter survey in early March 2020 before the government-enforced shutdowns took place, though they did not release results due to the crisis. The 2021 survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.1 percentage points.