Supermarkets Could Do More with Easter

Articles
April 02, 2010

Supermarkets Could Do More with Easter

Last-minute Easter shoppers will be hopping madly today and tomorrow to fill candy and gift baskets for the Sunday holiday at a greater rate than in 2009—

Last-minute Easter shoppers will be hopping madly today and tomorrow to fill candy and gift baskets for the Sunday holiday at a greater rate than in 2009—but still well below spending levels of 2007 and 2008, which was before the recession sent nearly everyone scampering for shelter.

If Easter is an early sign of a springtime rebound in consumer spending, it might be partly due to the nasty winter weather that has people pent up and ready for some “bright, colorful Easter merchandise” relief, said Tracy Mullin, president and CEO, National Retail Federation. We agree, the buying trigger can sometimes be that simple and that emotional, especially with a nation that seems desperate for a reason to lighten up.

Holiday celebrants are forecast to spend $13.03 billion this Easter, an average of $118.60 per person vs. $116.59 a year ago, found the NRF 2010 Easter Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey, conducted by BIGresearch.  Of that, $4.11 billion will be spent on food, the largest spending classification of all that were measured, and $1.9 billion will be spent on candy.

By comparison, the Easter spend was $135.07 per person in 2007, and $135.03 in 2008, the researchers said.

When people were asked where they would buy Easter gifts this year, nearly two out of three (64.8%) said a discount store.  Supermarkets weren’t on the list of channels to be chosen.

However, since food (#1) and candy (#4) rank so high on the goods expected to be purchased this Easter—and since gifts (#3 at $1.99 billion), flowers (#5 at $0.86 billion), decorations (#6 at $0.70 billion), and greeting cards (#7 at 0.69 billion) can also be sold in supermarkets, The Lempert Report sees opportunity for the channel in future years.

Retailers could mine their frequent cardholder data to see buying trends in their stores at Christmas, Halloween and Back-to-School periods, for instance, and glean insights to conceive targeted promotions for Easter.  They could devote part of their service deli space to the creation of food-filled gift baskets. They could run kid-themed contests for best-decorated eggs or best-dressed pets in holiday garb. These are a few light examples.Supermarkets could certainly do more than sell their lay-down bags of chocolate candies to build momentum for a more fun spring.