In many ways this Easter is surprising. We note that as this past winter’s thaw begrudgingly and gradually hoppens, so is the modest Easter retail growth of 2.9% (over last year) hoppening. The NRF estimates sales at $16.97 B which is more than 2014 but still less than the Easters of ’13 and ’12. Nonetheless, Easter is our 4th biggest retail holiday behind THE Holiday Season (Xmas, Hanukah), M-Day and V-Day. Easter ‘15 is a strange “wabbit” b/c of the 8 categories of Easter spending ONLY 2 of them show substantial growth. They are CLOTHING & FOOD with projected increases of 9.6% and 6.7%, respectively. (EASTER GIFTS show a modest growth of 1.5 %). CANDY, FLOWERS, DECORATIONS, GREETING CARDS & OTHER PURCHASES all show negative growth. This seems to us to be your BASIC EASTER. Or perhaps we should call this a focused or targeted Easter. To some extent it is reflective of the slowdown of the recently completed quarter. While Easter is the highest religious holiday on the Christian calendar, its $17 B retail face is more a function of Easter Baskets, Chocolate Bunnies, Jelly Beans, Peeps, Paas Egg Coloring Kits (and their Easter partner, hard boiled eggs), Easter ham & lamb AND Spring Clothing as opposed to as religiosity chalice that economically brim$ over the top. (Having said that, we realize that much of our secular Easter is blessed with the symbolism of rebirth, new life, etc.) The facts are that 80%± of the US is Christian and coincidentally (or NOT) 80% of Americans celebrate Easter in some fashion or another. (An Easter egg for your thoughts?) The youngest of adults (Millennials) have the highest celebrating % (86%) while those 65 & over have the lowest % (72%). Women are 4% more likely to celebrate it than men, though men will avg spending 20% more than women ($1533/4 v $1281/5). Finally, according to the NRF/Prosper Insight survey, Midwesterners will spend the most and Westerners the least.

The current picture painted of Easter spending is one of economic ambivalence (with a positive twist ) Given the opportunity for NRF survey respondents to indicate whether they were going to spend more, spend the same or less than last Easter, a whopping 73% said the SAME. (The highest % b/t 2007 & 2015). The positive twist comes from the fact that from 2007-2015 there was ONLY 1yr where the more % was GREATER than the less % and that was THIS YR (15% more vs 12% less). In short this Easter really does have some positive rabbit ear$!


By looking at the relationship b/t for shopping venues and age groups we gain considerable insight into whom is really driving the bunny mobile. (Data supplied by NRF/Prosper Insight.)

  • DISCOUNTERS are preferred by those 35-54 yrs over every other age group.
  • DEPT STORES, SPECIALTY STORES & ONLINE shopping are more preferred by 18-34 yrs than any other age group. And there is the real “rub” for Easter 2015 ONLINE shopping has more vision, more victories, more “village” connectivity and claimed many more victims than any other type of shopping ever has. Furthermore, Millennials more than any other age group are online shoppers. They are the online shoppers. They were bottle fed and pablum bred by online retail. With that reality let’s see how they compare to other age groups in their usage of electronic shopping devices.
    • 72% of All Shoppers & 89% of Millennials own SMART PHONES with about 50% of each group have TABLETS (an increase from 20% to 30% b/t 2012 & ’15 depending on the device and the age bracket). Given this increase in electronic devices we find it amazing that a decreasing % of Easter shoppers will use them for research, coupon redemption and purchase this holiday. HOW can this be? HOW can this be?
  • The answer is obviously locked tightly in the security breach, hacking problem. All Americans & especially Millennials want to use their SMART PHONES and TABLETS to shop but obviously will NOT use them accordingly until this security breach problem/issue/catastrophe has been solved. Could it be that the Easter hacker has become the image, the stuffed animal of Easter 2015?

Table -1 The Comparative Use of Smart Phones & Tablets by All Easter Shoppers & Millennial Shoppers 2015

           Smartie All 18-34
ü  Research 21% 37%
ü  Purchase 14% 24%
ü  Redeem Coupons 15% 25%
ü  Use Apps to Research/Buy 14% 14%
ü  Apps to Price Compare 12% 12%
           Tablet All 18-34
ü  Research 25% 38%
ü  Purchase 17% 27%
ü  Redeem Coupons 11% 20%
ü  Use Apps to Research/Buy 7% 12%
ü  Apps to Price Compare 7% 12%

ONLINE shopping increased substantially for Easter 2010 from 13.1% to 21.1% in 2015 ONLY to decrease to 19.1% in 2014 and then to 18.8% in 2015. These %s “scream out” as issues/problems of privacy, security, breaches, hacking, etc become more relevant and intense. It is clear from the above table that while we are becoming more tech connected we are also becoming more and more concerned about our information. Whether Wal-Mart (2009), Neiman Marcus or Apple in 2013, or Target & Home Depot in 2014, security/safety of customer info must become retailers top priority. The rewards will be increasing sales and they will belong to those retailers who can secure and guarantee their patrons’ information and it can’t and won’t hoppen with a rabbit’s foot! Failure to provide anti hacking security will result in ultimate retailer failure.


ü  Gasoline (all shades, all grades) will be $1.194 per gal cheaper this Easter than last yr. For our hypothetical Easter mo, American drivers will save an estimated $11.94B (or 72% of the NRF estimated 2015 total spend for this holiday’s spending of $16.37B). Our fam of 4 with 2 drivers (each driving 1,000 miles a mo at 25 mpg) will save $95.52 during our Easter mo. Those $$ are the equivalent to what 2.2 adults will spend on clothing and candy this Easter time.

About bernacmd

For over 24 years, University of Detroit Mercy Marketing Professor Michael Bernacchi, Ph.D., J.D, has produced "uNDER tHE mIKE-rOSCOPE", a newsletter discussing current "marketing and advertising¹s bends, trends & ends." A well-know fixture in Detroit and national media, UDM's marketing guru has made several appearances on CNN's "Talk Back Live," the Voice of America worldwide radio network (VOA), ABC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC and on the pages of Sports Illustrated, Time, TV Guide, the New York Times, USA Today, the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post, to name a few. At University of Detroit Mercy, he has taught courses in Marketing Management, Consumer Behavior, Marketing Communications, Research and Corporate Social Responsibility and Sports and Entertainment Marketing. Michael Bernacchi can be reached at 313-993-1116 or bernacmd@udmercy.edu. Please appropriately attribute the following for their work on uNDER tHE mIKE-rOSCOPE: Yen Ju Lee Robert Rouse Vidhyasagar Natarajan Eric Baumgardner & Ian Young
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