Even in the face of continuing inflation, the Easter bunny just keeps hop, hop, hopping along.

Most American consumers who celebrate Easter plan to spend as much or more this year on holiday items such as candy, food and beverage, and décor compared to last year, according to a new Advantage Solutions survey.

Some 33% of respondents say they’re planning to spend “much more” on food and 29% say they plan to spend much more on candy this year, despite higher prices, according to the survey, which was conducted earlier this month and looks at Americans’ purchasing habits and overall sentiment about Easter, which takes place on March 31.

“More than four out of five Americans plan to celebrate the Easter season this year and category growth is anticipated,” says Rich Adams, senior vice president at Advantage Solutions. “However, seasons are being compressed. Consumers are purchasing more in the last week, and that trend is expected to continue this Easter, which arrives earlier this year.”

Indeed, unlike other major holidays with long lead times, most Easter shopping happens within a week of the actual day, according to the Advantage survey.

Compared to the December holiday season, for example, when more than two-thirds of shoppers start buying before Thanksgiving, more than 60% of individuals who “plan to be hosting and going all out” for Easter shop for candy within seven days of the holiday. More than a third shop one to three days beforehand. In terms of food, 72% of plan to shop within seven days before Easter.

While inflation and higher prices are factors in how much consumers plan to spend, they’re not proving to be a barrier to purchase behavior — particularly for parents of young children who say they are trying “to keep the holiday spirit alive” and are willing to spend more to do so.

Half of parents with kids younger than 18 say they’re worried about disappointing their children by not spending enough on holiday items.

However, even though inflation isn’t stopping purchases, consumers are still looking for deals. “Finding a good price/value” is the top consideration for shoppers buying food (56%) and décor (49%), while 47% say it’s a factor for candy and beverage purchases. In the candy and beverage categories, “favorite brand” outranks all other considerations with 58% and 49% of consumers, respectively.

Candy is king for Easter shoppers, with 85% of consumers planning to purchase everything from chocolate bunnies to jelly beans and marshmallow treats this year. It’s also a versatile purchase, with 74% of shoppers planning to use candy for Easter baskets, 62% planning to use candy for Easter egg hunts and 44% plan to use candy as part of their Easter décor.

And it’s not just for the little ones — while more than half of consumers purchase candy for kids, another 39% purchase candy for “anyone who is a kid at heart.”

“After Halloween, Easter is the second most popular holiday season for candy purchases,” says Adams. “Having candy to put out in dishes, Easter egg hunts and baskets are the largest usage occasions. Chocolate candy makes up the vast majority of dollar sales for Easter, but non-chocolate helps drive units because of the lower price points.”

Among the survey’s other findings:

  • Smaller gatherings seem to be the plan across multiple age demographics when it comes to celebrating Easter. According to the survey, 42% of respondents say they plan “a smaller, more intimate gathering with family/friends” compared with last year.
  • When it comes to Easter décor, supplies for both decorating eggs and baskets are purchased by more than half of respondents, at 53% and 52%, respectively. Other popular items include non-religious Easter decorations (42%), tableware decorations (40%) and live flowers (37%).
  • The Easter holiday has many purchase categories, but mass retailers continue to the No. 1 spot to shop. Walmart and Target are the top choices no matter what Easter item is purchased.
  • Parents with children between the ages of six to nine years old are more likely to purchase alcohol this Easter (almost 40%) — which is more than 10 percentage points ahead of any other age child group.

The Advantage Solutions Easter survey is based on responses from 749 U.S. consumers who celebrate Easter and are their household’s primary grocery shopper or share the responsibility.

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