Blackfriar: Easter represents a big opportunity for canny retailers

Easter means big business for retailers who know that shoppers want cheaper options this year as they face economic uncertainty.

Hotel Chocolat's 'Extra-Thick Easter Egg You Crack Me Up' is expected to sell well this Easter

Leeds-based shopper marketing agency Savvy said consumers will spend up to £877m (up from £824m in 2018) on Easter related products this year, with Easter Eggs accounting for £188m in sales.

Savvy said many shoppers will be on the lookout for bargains with around 70 per cent of shoppers saying they know where they can find the best value eggs and almost half of them will be heading to a discounter to shop for food and Easter eggs.

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Alastair Lockhart, insight director at Savvy, said Easter falls late this year, giving shoppers extra time to prepare for the holiday weekend.

This, combined with better online inspiration and retailers’ scaling up investment in the event, is set to boost Easter spending by 6.5 per cent to £877m.

Whilst many shoppers are looking out for cheap eggs, there has been an increase at the upper end of the market with more shoppers buying premium eggs, a growing trend that Savvy has noticed over recent years.

Trading up to purchase more expensive food and drinks for the Easter weekend is on the cards for 44 per cent of shoppers. This is being led by premium retailers such as Hotel Chocolat, which is proving a very popular brand in Yorkshire as it focuses on increased percentages of cocoa and reduced sugar.

Hotel Chocolat’s Extra-Thick eggs celebrate their 18th birthday this year. They all feature very thick shells and range from high-cocoa, creamy white, the best-selling Rocky Road, caramel to intensely dark.

Hotel Chocolat says that when it first started making Easter eggs, experts told it to make them as thin as possible. It did the opposite, opting for “lavishly thick shells”. Prices range from £2.50 for a Happy Easter Pillow Pack consisting of three individually-wrapped solid chicks or bunnies in 40 per cent milk chocolate to £80 for a massive Ostrich egg.

Savvy’s research showed that fewer men will be involved in celebrating Easter than women - 60 of men compared with 67 per cent of women will get involved.

Three quarters (75 per cent) of Easter shoppers look forward to the event and 73 per cent say that they are looking forward to spending time with their families at Easter. Some 74 per cent said they view it as a special occasion.

When it comes to spending plans, 37 per cent said they are planning on spending more on Easter goods this year and 57 per cent said they don’t mind spending more to make the Easter weekend special.

Planning in advance what they’ll be buying for Easter weekend appeals to 56 per cent of shoppers, although 16 per cent admitted that they would leave things to the last minute.

However, Easter eggs could be losing their appeal for the younger generation. Shoppers aged 18-34 are now less likely to buy Easter Eggs than other age groups.