Americans will spend more than ever as they celebrate Easter nearly three weeks later this year than last, said the National Retail Federation (NRF). According to NRF’s annual survey conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics, spending for Easter is expected to reach $18.4 billion, up 6% over last year’s record $17.3 billion and a new all-time high in the survey’s 14-year history. Those celebrating plan to spend an average of $152 per person, up 4% from last year’s previous record of $146.

 

“Most consumers have almost an entire extra month to shop for Easter this year, and by the time the holiday comes the weather should be significantly warmer than last Easter,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “That should put shoppers in the frame of mind to splurge on spring apparel along with Easter decorations. With the economy improving, consumers are ready to shop and retailers are ready to offer great deals whether they’re buying Easter baskets or garden tools.”

 

According to the survey, consumers will spend $5.8 billion on food (purchased by 87% of shoppers), $3.3 billion on clothing (50%), $2.9 billion on gifts (61%), $2.6 billion on candy (89%), $1.2 billion on flowers (39%), $1.1 billion on decorations (43%) and $788 million on greeting cards (48%).

 

The 50% of consumers planning to buy clothing is up from 45% last year and is the highest level in a decade, while the $3.3 billion expected to be spent is up 9% from last year.

 

With shopping lists in hand, 58% of consumers will head to discount stores, 46% will go to department stores and 26% will shop at local small businesses. In addition, 27% will shop online, up from 21% last year. Among smartphone owners, 28% will research products on their devices while 18% will use their phones to make a purchase, while another 9% will use apps to do their research or purchase products.

 

“Easter continues to be a traditional holiday for consumers of all ages, especially young families who are planning to spend a bit more for this celebration,” Prosper Principal Analyst Pam Goodfellow said. “With the later timing of Easter, we will see more consumers shopping for special deals, especially on apparel and decorations.”

 

Consumers plan to celebrate Easter in several different ways: 61% will visit family and friends, 57% will cook a holiday meal, 52% will go to church and 17% will go to a restaurant. Children will have plenty to look forward to after the Easter Bunny arrives: 35% of consumers will have an Easter egg hunt and 16% will open gifts. In addition, some consumers will celebrate with more leisurely activities: 43% will watch TV, 10% will shop online and 9% will head to the movies or shop in a store.

 

The survey, which asked 7,411 consumers about their Easter Sunday plans, was conducted March 1 – 9 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.2 percentage points.