After spending the Easter Holiday last year quarantined amidst growing fear and uncertainty regarding the rapidly spreading coronavirus pandemic, consumers are making big plans to celebrate the popular springtime holiday this year. According to a National Retail Federation’s survey of consumers in March, it is estimated that a record amount totaling $21.6 billion will be spent on Easter-related items this year. The average spend per person is expected to equal $179.70.

“With new stimulus funds from the President’s American Rescue Plan, positive trends in vaccinations and growing consumer confidence, there is a lot of momentum heading into the Spring and holiday events like Easter,” said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay. “Many have figured out how to celebrate holidays safely with family and that is reflected in consumer spending this Easter.”

For most Americans, normal life has been disrupted over the past year due to both changes in personal behavior and government mandated mitigation efforts in response to the virus. Personal income that was once spent on travel, entertainment, dining out and other social activities has been diverted to other purchases or simply saved. The multiple rounds of direct government stimulus payments also contributed to this gain in income. As a result of the December 2020 COVID-19 relief bill, the personal savings rate jumped to 20.5% in January from 13.4% the previous month. Since February, 2020, the total value of American’s savings accounts has increased from $1.4 trillion to $3.9 trillion.

This represents a huge increase in potential disposable income. With the successful roll out of vaccines, a growing economy and falling unemployment, many are planning a return to more normal activities and Easter offers an opportunity to capture some of that pent-up demand.

Nearly 80% of Americans plan to celebrate Easter this year and, of those, approximately 90% will be spending money on candy and food, while 64% will buy gifts for family and friends. Greeting cards and decorations are on the shopping lists of roughly half of consumers. Of all these planned purchases, 35% will be completed online, while discount stores will capture about 48% of in store shoppers. About 23% of consumers also plan to support and shop at a small business or local store, a trend that has grown throughout the pandemic.

While the COVID-19 pandemic has not yet been defeated, recent trends appear to point in the right direction, revealing a light at the end of the tunnel. What better season – Easter, a symbol of rebirth – to celebrate our road to recovery.