The long, cold wait for spring is expected to add significantly to consumers’ purchases of apparel as the Easter holiday approaches.
Among those celebrating the holiday, overall purchases per person are expected to rise 2.3 percent to $140.62, 2.3 percent above the $137.46 budgeted for last year’s holiday. Overall holiday-related spending is seen growing 2.9 percent to $16.37 billion, according to purchase intention data collected from 6,106 respondents polled by Prosper Insights & Analytics for the National Retail Federation.
Apparel is expected to be responsible for a larger share of the anticipated spend. Holiday celebrants are expected to spend $24.74 on clothes for themselves and their loved ones, up 8.9 percent from the 2014 figure of $22.71, and total holiday-related expenditures on apparel are seen growing to $2.88 billion, up 9.6 percent from $2.63 billion in 2014.
Easter takes place April 5 this year, 15 days earlier than in 2014.
“Easter will be the perfect segue into spring for both consumers and retailers who have longed for warmer weather for quite some time,” said Matthew Shay, president and chief executive officer of NRF. “As one of the busiest times of year for several retail sectors and as shelves begin filling with both traditional spring and holiday merchandise, retailers are looking forward to welcoming shoppers with attractive promotions on home goods, garden equipment and traditional Easter items.”
The only category expected to generate greater sales than apparel in Easter-related spending is food, with overall expenditures up 6.7 percent to $5.33 billion from just under $5 billion last year.
Gifts ranked third in the Easter purchasing parade, with spending rising 1.5 percent to $2.39 billion, and average spend up 0.8 percent to $20.53. Candy fills the fourth spot, but overall spending is seen dropping 0.7 percent to $2.21 billion and average spend declining 1.3 percent to $19.07.
Nearly three-quarters — 72.8 percent — expect to spend the same as they did a year ago, while 15 percent said they’ll spend more and 12.2 percent said their budgets are lower. That represents an increased purchasing proclivity compared with 2014, when 13.3 percent said they’d spend more, 18.7 percent said less and 68 percent about the same.
The NRF study also contained some good news for department and apparel stores as more consumers said they’d do their Easter shopping in those channels. For department stores, the figure was 40.7 percent versus 38.1 percent a year ago; apparel stores were checked by 9.6 percent of respondents, up from 8.2 percent last year.
Discounters remain the most popular destination for Easter shoppers, albeit by a smaller margin — 58.6 percent of shoppers versus 61.5 percent a year ago. Non-apparel specialty stores declined less sharply, to 21.8 percent from 22.3 percent.
For the first time, NRF asked consumers if they’d patronize a small or local business, and 23.8 percent replied that they would. Online shopping was slightly less popular than a year ago, with 18.8 percent saying they’d opt for it, down from 19.1 percent last year.
Yet, nearly a quarter — 24.1 percent — indicated they’d spend time browsing the Web on Easter Sunday. The most popular planned activities for the day, in descending order of popularity, were “visit family and friends” (57.4 percent), cook a holiday meal (54.8 percent), go to church (50.8 percent) and watch television (41.8 percent). At least on Easter Sunday, 8.1 percent said they’d shop online and 7.9 percent said they’d shop in a store. Movies were on the agenda of 7.5 percent of respondents, while 4.2 percent intend to work and 2.3 percent said they’d do nothing.