We know that the stock market since Jan 1 has been on a see-saw, except for the last wk or so when it’s been on a bit of a run. Good “enough” but that’s NOT the economy. So how is the real economy? Unemployment is down (way down)! Interest rates are low; spending has been OKand wages have increased. Yes, we are paying a bit more at the pump the last few wks but gas is still is at historical lows. With all that said, how is the Easter Economy, Easter Spending doing? We shall view it through 2 diff lenses. A comparison of the likely spending this Easter vs last Easter in absolute $$ terms. And, a “feeling” type of more or less lens where Easter spenders are asked whether they believe that they’ll spend more or less than last yr (For some connectedness we’ll add a note from Xmastime 2015).
✓ The total spend this Easter is expected to be $17.324 B which is the most EVER estimated by the NRF. WOW! It is a full 5.8% above Easter 2015 & 8.9% more than Easter 2014. (2015’s growth over 2014’s is ONLY +2.9%) Even those wide whiskers of the Easter Bunny can’t hide his bunny ear to bunny ear, broad, smile b/c of the Easter Economy.
✓ OK we admit the $17.3B is a big robust absolute bucko blast but, how about the feeling dimension? Will Easter spenders claim to be more willing or less to spend this Eastertime vs last yr at Easter?
We shall even take a sneak peek from Xmastime 2015 to see if there is any change in this more vs less feeling about spending. While the NRF question was phrased differently for Xmas we can surely get a more or less interpretation. The Q asked was whether Xmastime spending would be less this yr (2015) b/c of the state of the economy. An amazing 63.1% of adult respondents said YES it would be less (leaving but 36.9% to respond NO or that they would spend the SAME) given the current state of the economy. These data flowing from Easter 2015 through Xmastime 2015 to Easter 2016 is straight forward. American consumers have gradually increased their likelihood of spending more. We might even say that any contradictory views of the real economy have been TRUMPED!
Given the data from expected Easter spending cited on the front pg, what do we learn from the info detailed in where shoppers will shop this Eastertime? The decline in Discounter shopping and the increase in estimated shopping at Dept Stores, Specialty Venues and Local Bizes tell us all we need to know. The spending economy is strong and getting stronger. We might say again that last yr is being TRUMPED by this yr. This info is very consistent with that presented on pg 1 of this Scope.
A JELLY BEAN IS A JELLY BEAN IS A JELLY BEAN…
OK, we admit it, we did this whole Scope just to be able to add this “sweet section” about Easter candy, eggs, bunnies AND yes the quintessential JELLY BEAN! 1st let’s get a few things straight. The US is one of the most Christian nations in the world. As a matter of fact, recent Gallup data tell us that we are 80% Christian. Coincidentally, NRF 2016 info tells us that 80.6% respondents said they will celebrate Easter. Is this conversion or secularism? Lest we be too religiously overrun, the NRF poll also stated that 57.8% of us will visit family & friends. 55.6% will cook a hardy meal with ONLY 51.3% of us expecting to attend church. OTHER religious predictions include such prayerful activities as watching TV (41.1% of us); 31.4% will Easter egg hunt with 24.5% of us browsing the web. Now to the religious right of THE DONALD come dyed eggs, Peeps and YES, the JELLY BEAN!
As for the treasured tradition of dye-ing eggs at Easter time. The Nat’l Confectioners Assn (NCA) tells us that 79% of us will dye Easter eggs. Given that religious experience of “changing colors”, how can we properly explain this? Well, there are currently 322M Americans (US Census Bureau); 79% of that # means that at one egg for each of us means about 152.628 M dyed eggs or 21.198M cartons of 12 eggs. If we strung those cartons END to END they would equal the flight path from DC to Vegas and back. “To make America great, again” we MUST make sure that “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas”. Right, Donald?
Now, to the sweet truth (or is that tooth) of Easter’s $ucce$$ increasingly is a story of CANDY. As a matter of fact Fortune writer Lucinda Shen has just properly stated that Easter is America’s new #1 CANDY sales time eclipsing H-ween. (Candy Sales for H-ween 2015 were estimated at $2.1B vs $2.4B for Easter 2016.) NO Easter basket would be complete w/o Peeps and JELLY BEANS.
✓ USAnews.com estimates that there will be 1½ B Peeps consumed.
o That means that every man, woman, and child will eat 4.66 Peeps. (Talk about stick-to-it-ivness!)
o From Russia With Love, in 1910 came candy maker Sam Born who marketed his fresh candy calling it Just Born. His marshmallow chick Peeps became big hit and part of many Easter baskets by the early 1940s. Ironically one of the fave eating forms of Peeps is the stale & hard form (rather than Just Born).
✓ Similarly USAnews.com notes that 16 B JELLY BEANS are made for Easter. That means that each of us is accountable for 49.7, beans each. “Parents do know where your kids and their 50 JELLY BEANS are?”
o While we don’t want to politicize the JELLY BEAN, conventional wisdom is that the JELLY BEAN is a relative of a candy known as Turkish delight. It became popularized in the 1800s in the US and became an Easter basket staple in the 1930s. (jellybean.com)
o The NCA tells us that the most popular jelly bean flavor is cherry with a 24% consumer preference.