Despite recent reports about traditional retail’s fall and demise, there are still some situations where brick and mortar beats online. And Easter is one of them. According to the National Retail Federation, Americans are planning to spend more on the holiday than ever before—as much as 6 percent over last year.
Some of this is attributed to the holiday falling later in the calendar year—meaning the perceived “Easter Season” (at least the secular Easter season) seems longer and more closely aligns with spring. It’s hard to get excited about Easter when there is snow, sleet, and freezing rain in the forecast.
How much are they spending?
Spending is estimated to reach $18.4 billion, the highest total in the 14-year history of the NRF survey. Those celebrating plan to spend an average of $152 per person, up 4 percent from last year’s $146.
According to the NRF survey, consumers will spend $5.8 billion on food (purchased by 87 percent of shoppers), $3.3 billion on clothing (50 percent), $2.9 billion on gifts (61 percent), $2.6 billion on candy (89 percent), $1.2 billion on flowers (39 percent), $1.1 billion on decorations (43 percent) and $788 million on greeting cards (48 percent).
The 50 percent of consumers planning to buy clothing is up from 45 percent last year and is the highest level in a decade, while the $3.3 billion in projected spending is up 9 percent from last year.
But what’s recalling interesting is not what they are spending, but where they are spending it.
Where are they shopping?
Unlike Christmas, more Easter shopping is done in-store than online.
Now look at the stores they are favoring? Discount stores lead the way with nearly 60 percent. Department stores—those mall mainstays—follow at abut 45 percent. Online and local/small businesses come in at about 26 percent.
What does it mean for retailers and brands?
Well, for starters, it means that traditional retail is not dead. It also means that there are still situations where shoppers still want to engage with stores and brands up-close and in-person—and when they do they are willing to spend.
For brands and retailers focusing only on driving online sales, this can be a problem. While the general trend toward online shopping continues, it’s important to remember those situations where the “new rules” don’t apply—at least not yet.
With discount stores sitting in the lead spot, it’s clear that value is key, even as the economy picks up. Perhaps the frugality learned during the Great Recession has take root, or perhaps it’s just consumers being used to the perceived value of online deals. Either way, retail brands clearly need to demonstrate a measurable value if they want to get customers in the doors—and keep them from the discount chains.
Today’s consumers want to do some of their shopping the old fashion way, but they also want convenience and value pricing. Your marketing and your messaging needs to include that point.
How to cut through
Just because e-commece sales not driving Easter season revenue does’t mean that online marketing isn’t important—it is. In fact it’s essential. It just needs to be a little “old school.” Tweak your online marketing to focus on impressions, awareness, and driving to the store. Create holiday guides, how-to content, tips, and checklists for both desktop and mobile. Make sure your mobile experience clearly gives customers the option find a retail location and pick up in-store.
It’s also a good idea to create content around holiday themed keywords. To demonstrate your value, highlight special offers, coupons, and discounts—and promote this content across social media for easy sharing. And, whenever possible, get personal with your messaging, personalizing the sales experience to increase customer loyalty and engage the shoppers.
With Easter bucking the online sales trend in favor of traditional retail outlets and discount stores, brands need maintain the ability to adjust the internals of their omnichannel marketing to bring consumers into stores.