Easter food and gift spending to reach nearly £4bn

By Michael Stones

- Last updated on GMT

Easter shoppers are set to shell out nearly £4bn on food and gifts over the holiday
Easter shoppers are set to shell out nearly £4bn on food and gifts over the holiday

Related tags Easter Chocolate New product development

Easter shoppers are set to spend £3.9bn on food and gifts over the next few days, according to analyst GlobalData, as Mintel reveals the holiday is a key driver for chocolate innovation.

Food, drink and gift purchases this Easter will be £27M up on last year, despite UK consumers thinking the occasion has become too commercial, said GlobalData based on recent research.

The firm’s retail analyst Anish Dosani said: “The latest GlobalData survey certainly shows that people feel Easter has become too commercial, but that hasn’t put them off splashing out on food, gifts, and cards again this year.

“The chocolate makers and retailers may feel they have a larger stake in the occasion through increased marketing spend which has led them to become bolder in trying to broaden Easter’s appeal and manoeuvre it towards being a general Spring holiday.”

‘Increased marketing spend’

Supermarkets are not only competing against each other for a share of Easter spending, they also have to contend with increasing participation in events such as Easter from general merchandisers such as B&M and Poundland, said Dosani.

“Families are going to benefit this year from increased competition in the market, but for retailers, though there is a slight increase in overall spending, any increase is being shared across far more participants as retailers take advantage of the occasion and attempt to gain a bigger share of spending,”​ said Dosani.

“While we expect there to be an increase in consumer spending on Easter Day this year, the increasing perception of the occasion becoming too commercial means that retailers are going to have to work even harder to drive sales and win this spend.”

Meanwhile, Easter new product launches accounted for more than one quarter (28%) of global chocolate launches last year, revealed new research from Mintel’s Global New Products Database (GNPD).

Chocolate launches last year

Chocolate launches last year highlighted the continuing popularity of eggs, bunnies and other chocolate treats. Countries boasting the most Easter chocolate innovation were: Brazil, which accounted for 14% of global Easter chocolate product launches, France with an 11% share and South Africa with a 10% share.

Britons last year spent £374M on Easter confectionery, with nearly half (49%) of shoppers buying chocolate gifts. Confectionery accounted for more than two thirds (68%) of all Easter product spending.

Mintel Food and Drink director of insight Marcia Mogelonsky said: “Our research shows that seasonal chocolate tops all chocolate new product development, a testament to the popularity of seasonal treats among consumers across the globe.

“This reflects the fact that these products are typically bought to help celebrate holidays or special occasions. With this in mind, seasonal chocolate is somewhat immune to recessionary pressures as these products are bought on an occasional basis.”

Britons consume the most chocolate, with the average consumer enjoying 8.61kg of chocolate per capita last year.

That was followed by Switzerland with 8.59kg per capita, Germany with 8.32kg per capita, Russia with 6.57kg and Austria at 5.37kg.

What will be on your dinner table this Easter?

Lamb is set to remain the most popular dish this Easter, preferred by 20% of shoppers, but alternatives are gaining in popularity, reveals news research from grocery think tank IGD. Fish is rivalling chicken as the main Easter dish this holiday, as 12% of shoppers are predicted to choose it compared to 13% choosing chicken.

Beef will be chosen by only 8% of shoppers, while 6% will put pork on their Easter menu.

IGD shopper insight manager Vanessa Henry said: “Our research shows a clear move away from the traditional Easter celebrations that centre around cooking one main meal on the Sunday of the bank holiday weekend with lamb being the conventional choice.

“Instead, shoppers are now viewing the holiday as a four-day event that brings with it multiple opportunities for meals and entertaining, one key part of which is experimenting with alternative main meal options such as fish and chicken.”

The trend was an opportunity to drive a broader range of different meal occasions instead of just the traditional one celebratory meal, added Henry. “The spontaneous nature of shopper planning for the holiday means businesses can successfully engage with their customers up until the last minute to influence and support with meal planning.”

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