It’s official: Easter shopping season is on

During this seasonal peak season for UK businesses, profits could soar with the help of a favourable weather forecast for the weekend.

Easter is determined by the moon, different year on year, as the part of the Gregorian calendar. This year it is falling almost three weeks later than last year (April 16th). With many school holidays already underway consumers have had plenty time to shop, and with warmer weather helping, people are all too happy to part with their cash.

In Western culture, not much remains of Easter’s Christian origins. Only 43% of people believe in the Resurrection, and 28% of children aged 8 – 15 think the Easter story features a hare. Consumerism has taken over, and nowadays a staggering 65% of people actually visualise chocolate when asked about the Holy Resurrection.

Easter spend accounts for 10% of Britain’s annual chocolate sales. (A little fact for you – each person in Britain eats approx. 9.5 kg of per year – that’s the size of a small dog!!) Every child in the UK receives an average of 8.8 Easter eggs every year, double their recommended calorie intake for a whole week.

Apart from chocolate and less indulgent food groups, other popular items to buy on Easter holiday are:

  • Petrol
  • Picnic and barbeque gear
  • DIY and gardening tools
  • Decorations
  • Sporting goods
  • New clothes (spring wardrobe refreshed!)
  • Flowers and greeting cards.

Fact: In the USA, 58 % of Easter shopping takes place at a discount store. According to the IGD ShopperVista research, 51% of Easter shoppers say that Easter is a time to support British food and grocery retailers and producers.

Primary factor impacting Easter sales

First and foremost, when it comes to Britain – the weather. In 2016 Storm Katie, bringing rain and the wind to most of the UK, significantly slumped down the sales figures as shoppers preferred to stay home. Visits to high streets and shopping centres dropped 12% and 3% respectively on Saturday. Colder weather also affects fashion retailers because people are not keen on refreshing their spring wardrobes. Gardeners also don’t buy the equipment when the weather dampens their enthusiasm.

Easter weather fact: Since 1960, the earliest Easter was over the weekend of the 22-24 March in 2008, and the latest was in 2011 when Easter fell between the 23-25 April.

An early Easter often means snow in some parts of the country; in fact, it is more likely to snow at Easter than it is at Christmas. The later an Easter falls, the better the weather is likely to be.

Summing up

It’s clear that consumer spend and purchasing habits are not only affected by the seasonal spike but have been greatly influenced by coming out of recession.  People have more disposable income and are opting for treats over necessities.  Eating out rather than dining in, especially during the weekend has become a lifestyle choice for many Britons. Consumers also tend to spend less on clothing and general merchandise because there is a limit to possessions they can accumulate. Instead of cluttering their houses or buying signature clothes, people opt for new experiences – going on exotic holidays and music festivals or just taking weekend city breaks. This trend is withdrawing money from retailers, and this holiday season is not an exception.