Easter Spending This Year Anticipated to be Highest on Record

Americans plan to spend an average of $179.70 each on gifts, food and candy.
Easter basket

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Consumers report that they plan to spend an average of $179.70 this Easter, the highest figure on record, according to results of the annual survey released by the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics.

Nearly eight in 10 Americans (79 percent) will celebrate the holiday and spend a collective $21.6 billion, down slightly from the pre-pandemic forecast of $21.7 billion in 2020.

"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."

Easter gifts, food and candy are the biggest growth drivers. Consumers plan to spend an average of $31.06 on gifts (up from $27.91 in 2020), $52.50 on food (up from $51.76) and $25.22 on candy (up from $23.30).

Consumers are planning to celebrate in ways they may have skipped last year due to the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines and updated CDC guidance. Options include gatherings between vaccinated family members and outdoor gatherings during warmer weather.

Planned activities include cooking a holiday meal (listed by 59 percent), visiting with family and friends (43 percent), watching TV (43 percent), planning an Easter egg hunt (31 percent) or attending church (28 percent). However, 22 percent indicated they will attend virtually and 24 percent say they will connect with loved ones via phone or video.

"Keep in mind that last year's survey was conducted in early March before the pandemic forced most of the country to shut down and reflects consumers' pre-pandemic plans," said Prosper Insights Executive Vice President of Strategy Phil Rist. "This year's numbers reflect not just consumers' resilience in the last 12 months but also the enduring popularity of Easter."

Of those planning to purchase Easter-related items, 48 percent will shop at discount stores; 35 percent will visit department stores; 35 percent will make purchases online; 23 percent will go to a specialty store; and 23 percent will go to a small business or local store. As with other holiday events during the pandemic, the 35-percent online shopping figure is the highest in survey history, up from 28 percent in 2020.

Even many who don't celebrate are in search of Easter-related sales. More than half (52 percent) of those who don't celebrate Easter plan to take advantage of these deals and expect to spend an average of $21.11, up from $17.64 in 2020. Candy is the most popular item and transcends across age, gender and disposable incomes.