How much will COVID-19 impact consumer Easter plans?

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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It may be a happy Easter for retailers.

A new survey reveals the extent to which the lingering pandemic will affect how consumers celebrate – and shop for – the Easter holiday.

According to the Easter 2022 Consumer Sentiment Study from Numerator, six in 10 (61%) surveyed consumers do not expect COVID-19 to impact their celebrations. This is the highest percentage of consumers seen not expecting their holiday plans to be impacted by COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic. 

Almost all (97%) respondents say they will make an Easter (Sunday, April 17) purchase. However, 75% of respondents expect inflation to impact their shopping. Among the 97% of consumers that plan to make an Easter purchase, the largest planned purchase is food (76%), followed by candy (68%) and gifts (34%). About the same number of respondents plan to buy alcoholic beverages (25%) as candy (27%).

In order to adjust for rising prices, respondents intend to seek out promotions, coupons, or sales (48%); purchase fewer items than usual (41%); switch to lower-priced items (34%); purchase items earlier than usual (31%); plan to shop around at different retailers (30%); and research prices prior to shopping (30%). Only 7% stated that inflation won’t change their shopping behavior.

Almost nine in 10 (88%) respondents expect to shop in-store, while 32% expect to shop online. Amazon is the online retailer of choice for Easter shoppers, with more than one in five (22%) respondents planning to make Easter purchases from the e-tail giant.  

Among in-store shoppers, mass (big box) and grocery retailers are the top locations, with 61% and 60% of respondents planning to shop in-store, respectively, planning to shop in those verticals

A plurality of respondents (42%) expect to spend between $26 and $75 on their Easter purchases. The range of $76-$150 comes in second, with 29% of respondents expecting to spend that much. 

Among those respondents who intend to celebrate, nearly two-thirds (64%) say they will gather with family and friends, a jump of 52% from 2021. Eleven percent 11% of respondents say they will travel for Easter 2022, slightly surpassing pre-COVID-19 norms (10%). 

NRF: Easter spending trends down
The recent annual Easter survey by the National Retail Federation (NRF) and Prosper Insights & Analytics is not quite as optimistic as Numerator’s study. According to data from the NRF, a total of 80% of Americans will celebrate the holiday and spend a collective $20.8 billion, down slightly from last year's forecast of $21.6 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 data also suggests inflation concerns are driving consumers to seek the most value for their dollar when shopping for the holiday. If the price of an Easter-related item is higher than expected, 42% of consumers said they will look for it at another retailer and 31% will find an alternative like another brand or color. Similar to last year, 56% of holiday shoppers plan to purchase gifts at discount stores, 41% at department stores and 35% online.

To download the Numerator Easter survey, click here.