CHICAGO—Consumers are planning to celebrate spring holidays by hosting or attending larger gatherings this spring holiday season, especially households with children, despite inflation, according to new data by IRI.
"As COVID-19's omicron variant waned in February, Americans once again dramatically increased their out-of-home activities," said Joan Driggs, vice president, content and thought leadership, IRI. "Retailers should increase merchandising to promote fresh ideas to a weary public. They should also take a tip from other holidays and promote gifting opportunities or ways to enhance entertainment uniquely as shoppers are anxious to celebrate."
Twenty-nine percent of respondents said that they plan to host or attend a meal with extended family who do not live with them, while 25% said the same in 2021. Respondents report an average of seven people at their holiday meals this year, up from 5.8 in 2021.
More than 25% of consumers report they’ll spend more on groceries for their Easter or Passover gatherings, and 90% of respondents feel that the cost of food is higher compared to last year. IRI’s Inflation Tracker showed food inflation is up 10% compared with a year ago.
IRI reports that prices for chocolate and non-chocolate candy have increased, but volume remains relatively unaffected, leading to lessening of price elasticity. In 2021, consumers spent $4.4 million on Easter candy, up 14% over Easter 2020. Ninety percent of consumers purchased candy in store for the for the seven weeks ended April 11, 2021, up 12% over 2021, while e-commerce purchasing of Easter candy increased 7% during the same period. Nine percent of shoppers bought their Easter candy online in 2021.
IRI found that price increases in the top 25 edible categories versus one year ago range from 26.3% for powdered milk to 13.8% for shelf-stable spaghetti/Italian sauce. Weakening unit demand will lead retailers to increase promotion investments, says IRI, and growing price inflation and price sensitivity will lead consumers to more aggressively shop on deals.
The National Retail Federation’s annual survey estimates that consumers will spend an average $169.79 on Easter-related items this year for a total of $20.8 billion. Among those planning to celebrate Easter, the average spend is $53.61 on food, followed by $28.04 on gifts and $27.93 on clothing.
NRF found that 42% of consumers will for an Easter-related item at another retailer if the price is higher than expected, and 31% will find an alternative like another brand or color. Fifty percent of holiday shoppers plan to purchase gifts at discount stores, 41% at department stores and 35% online.