Easter shopping expected to decline for second year running, says GlobalData

COVID-19 may have a lasting impact on Easter as a retail occasion, as the number of people intending to buy Easter gifts and meals is expected to decline for a second year running, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

Zoe Mills, Retail Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “The reopening of non-essential stores from 12 April combined with continued restricted social gatherings will impact shopper’s enthusiasm for Easter – especially considering they will no longer be bombarded with Easter-related advertising as footfall in physical locations remains low.”

While 58.9% of survey respondents* stated that they had either already purchased or intended to purchase something for Easter this year, this was down 7.6ppts on 2020. This decline was driven predominantly by the gifting category, as only 40% of UK consumers expect to purchase an Easter gift – compared to 53.5% in 2020, which translates into a potential drop in spend of 25%.

Mills continues: “The drop in Easter gift purchases will be of great concern for retailers as they approach Easter weekend. With fewer consumers intending to spend this Easter, retailers must appeal to those still investing in this event, encouraging consumers to spend on more premium and indulgent Easter eggs as a treat after a difficult year.”

According to GlobalData, retailers such as Hotel Chocolat are best placed to drive spend in the gifting category due to its wide range of Easter gifts that include not only eggs but hampers and Easter sandwiches.

Mills notes: “Hotel Chocolat has a strong track record when it comes to tempting shoppers to trade up. The retailer prospered in the 2020 festive period, reporting 19% total revenue growth for the 13 weeks ending 27 December 2020.”

GlobalData also expects to see a continuing shift in dietary habits, with vegan and ‘free from’ alternatives becoming more prevalent. Retailers must ensure Easter treats are offered to widen the target audience for this occasion. While the number of consumers investing in food and drink for an Easter meal is also expected to fall by 3.8ppts to 32% in 2021, the ability to host outdoor gatherings of either six people or two households will be allowed from 29 March – just in time for Easter.

Mills concludes: “The ability to meet outdoors for Easter provides some flexibility for families to see each other over this occasion. Good weather permitting – indeed the UK reported a record-breaking sunny spring in 2020 – the grocers should target Easter food and drink ranges for outdoor celebrations.”

* GlobalData Retail’s Eater survey of 2,000 respondents for 2019 and 2020 and GlobalData Retail’s March Monthly Consumer survey of 2,000 respondents in 2021.

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