DARKE COUNTY — Traditionally, Easter is the day Christians commemorate the resurrection of Jesus from the grave 2,000 years ago.
Though the weekend is held in great reverence by millions of worshipers across the globe, Easter has also become an opportunity for retailers to profit from the secular side of the spring holiday — with American consumers spending loads of money on everything from chocolate bunnies to spiffy new clothes.
The National Retail Federation (NRF) reports that Americans will spend more than ever on Easter this year. Spending is expected to reach $17.3 billion according to a survey conducted by Prosper Insights and Analytics.
This averages out to $146 per person, the highest level in the 13 years in which the survey has been conducted, according to NRF.
Further, Easter-time spending does not strictly derive from the holiday itself, according to NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay.
“Retailers are beginning one of their busiest times of year and are more than ready as consumers shop for spring essentials,” Shay said. “Shoppers will find promotions on a number of items on their lists, from Easter baskets to sports equipment, home goods, garden tools and more.”
The survey reports consumers will spend most of their money — $5.5 billion — on food. Clothing shoppers will spend $3 billion. An estimated $2.7 billion will go toward gifts, $2.4 billion on candy and $1.2 billion on flowers.
Other survey findings reflect where shoppers will get their goods: 58.4 percent of consumers will head to discount stores, 41.4 percent will go to department stores and 24.7 percent will shop at local small businesses.
Online shopping will show a marked increase in 2016, with 21.4 percent of consumers shopping online, up from 18.8 percent last year. Among smartphone owners, 22.8 percent will research products on their devices while 14.9 percent will use their phones to make a purchase.
“Easter is a traditional holiday that consumers of all ages and on all budget levels celebrate with family and friends,” Prosper Principal Analyst Pam Goodfellow said. “Consumers have longs lists of items they need to get their spring off to a good start. Smart shoppers plan to compare prices, research the items on their lists and take advantage of promotions on things like apparel and candy.”
As for holiday activities, NRF reports that Americans will celebrate Easter in a number or different ways: 57.8 percent will visit family and friends, 55.6 percent will cook a holiday meal, 51.3 percent will go to church and 15.6 percent will go to a restaurant.
As it regards children, 31.4 percent of consumers plan an Easter egg hunt and 13.9 percent will open gifts.