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WASHINGTON, D.C. — The more sugar, the merrier for consumers this Easter. Roughly 90 percent of Easter baskets will include chocolate or candy, according to a national survey by the National Confectioners Association (NCA).
"Americans enjoy having chocolate and candy to help make celebrations like Easter even more fun and special," said John Downs, president & CEO of NCA. "Consumers understand the unique role that chocolate and candy can play in a happy, balanced lifestyle. Most people in the U.S. enjoy candy 2-3 times per week, averaging about 40 calories per day."
Candy and chocolate play a major role in consumers' Easter celebrations, with 75 percent of those surveyed saying they have shared chocolate or candy with friends and family at Easter. But that's not all that's in their Easter baskets: 79 percent said their baskets will also include non-edible items like crayons, stuffed animals and books.
When it comes to a holiday favorite, chocolate eggs, 52 percent of consumers say they prefer chocolate eggs filled with cream, caramel or other treats, while 32 percent said they want their chocolate eggs to be solid. Only 16 percent are happy with a hollow chocolate egg.
Here’s what parents had to say in the survey:
- 91 percent of parents have a plan in place to talk to their children about balance when it comes to sweets and treats;
- 79 percent of parents said they plan to decorate eggs; and
- 71 percent of parents plan to attend an Easter egg hunt.
This year, consumers anticipate spending more than ever on Easter. Spending for the holiday is expected to reach $17.3 billion, according to the National Retail Federation's (NRF) annual Easter Spending Survey conducted by Prosper Insights and Analytics.
Those celebrating intend to spend an average $146 per person — up significantly over last year's $140.62 per person and $16.4 billion in total. It is the highest level on record in the 13 years the survey has been conducted.
"Retailers are beginning one of their busiest times of year and are more than ready as consumers shop for spring essentials," NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. "Shoppers will find promotions on a number of items on their lists, from Easter baskets to sports equipment, home goods, garden tools and more."
According to the survey, consumers will spend $5.5 billion on food; $3 billion on clothing; $2.7 billion on gifts; $2.4 billion on candy; and $1.2 billion on flowers.
With shopping lists in hand, consumers will head to discount stores (58.4 percent), department stores (41.1 percent), and local small businesses (24.7 percent). However, 21.4 percent of consumers will also shop online this year — up from 18.8 percent in 2016. Among smartphone owners, 22.8 percent will research products on their devices while 14.9 percent will use their phones to make a purchase.
Consumers also have a number of ways to celebrate the Easter holiday: 57.8 percent will visit family and friends; 55.6 percent will cook a holiday meal; 51.3 percent will go to church; and 15.6 percent will go to a restaurant. After the Easter Bunny comes, 31.4 percent of consumers plan an Eater egg hunt and 13.9 percent will open gifts.
"Easter is a traditional holiday that consumers of all ages and on all budget levels celebrate with family and friends," Prosper Principal Analyst Pam Goodfellow said. "Consumers have longs lists of items they need to get their spring off to a good start. Smart shoppers plan to compare prices, research the items on their lists and take advantage of promotions on things like apparel and candy."