Can Easter be the new Christmas Sales Boost?

So, with Easter over and done with a few weeks ago, how successful was it for retailers in increasing sales and driving traffic?

The stats

Overall specific Easter sales figures are positive, with total spending on Easter chocolate, cards, gifts, treats and entertainment estimated to have totaled £893m (source which is +£300m on last year. As predicted, retailers were doing everything possible to persuade customers to dip into their wallets and spend, with the industry hoping that Easter could become a regular quarter one sales surge. Sales reports show that Good Friday is fast becoming the Spring “Black Friday” with many high street stores offering heavy discounts on regular merchandise to drive traffic into stores and online. The Daily Mail reported that Good Friday total sales were £1.2 bn in the UK… certainly something to be aware of next year.

A white Easter

This year the high street struggled to drive footfall because of the weather… freezing temperatures, high winds and snow across a lot of the UK drove customers to their laptops, and who could have predicted that we would have a white Easter? Statistics report that by Easter Monday, consumers were desperate to escape the house, and retail parks and out of town shopping centres gained increased footfall, despite the weather.

So, was there anything specific to tempt customers to shop?

Over the past 3-4 years, I have seen Easter grow into a themed event, rather than being purely an event for chocolate lovers. Consumers are using the long bank holiday as a reason to bring the family together, like Christmas, and thus cooking a family feast, hosting an Easter egg hunt for younger children, and decorating the home to celebrate Easter. In fact, one of the big trends seen this Easter was in home décor. Just as Halloween has become a huge opportunity to decorate the home in the run up to Halloween, the same is happening with Easter. With pretty table decorations, door wreaths, garden décor and bunting all adorning our homes in the weeks and days leading up the holiday weekend. Retailers such as John Lewis & Paperchase reported sales increases of Easter baubles (JL +22%) with baubles decorated with Sheep and rabbits being their best seller. The Easter “tree” has evolved from being a top seller from craft websites such as etsy and not on the high street, to readily available, in self-assembly format in the multiple retailers.

Home Decor

The home décor trend is possibly down to consumers wanting to create new traditions – encouraging families to get together for Easter (similar to Christmas), and treating it as a holiday… a real break from the hustle and bustle of life. Easter crackers are enjoying a steady increase in popularity with magazine such as Good Housekeeping & House Beautiful featuring beautiful Easter tables, decorated with Easter crackers. Waitrose reported sales increased 63% for Crackers in 2017.

The grocers and discounters supported the Easter season hard, with 6-8 metres of themed displays, craft, home décor, garden and egg hunt fun all neatly displayed in seasonal aisles, heavy with POS and pretty displays. According to IBIS world, card sales were up 1.9% to 10.5m, and eggs/ chocolate up +5.3% to 395m. The rest of the spending is on clothing, gift, homeware and “experiences”

The Beast from The East

We had “the beast from east” causing havoc with retailer and casing a decline in footfall, with non-food sales down 1.8% in March, but meaning customers reverted to online shopping, with online sales (nonfood) up 7.9% in March, mainly due to increased sales in beauty & clothing. As we think about how successful Easter was for our businesses, jot down some notes about what worked and didn’t work for you, observations seen from your competitors & aspirational retailers, did customers request anything? Easter falls a little later next year 21st April, so falls in Q2. So, think about whether you can start to build up momentum towards Easter in March, immediately after Mother’s Day 31st March (also late) … meaning you need to market Mother’s Day throughout March.

So, what’s next for April & May?

I’ve seen continued emphasis on themed displays, and events, particularly in smaller, niche retailers… retailers linking displays and product to calendar events such as National Unicorn Day, St George’s Day, Coffee Week, Tea Day, The Queen’s Birthday… all prompting customers to tap into this theme or event using the power of product placement, display and promotion. New window displays can be a task and a half for retailers, but it’s easy to set up a small table display in your shop, or a display near to your till points, and with easy to use free design software such as Canva & pic monkey, you can create visuals for your store and online presence too. With ever increasing pressure on us to create new, innovative marketing material and displays, using these events and calendar dates, can help small retailers to plan the month ahead. I publish a monthly meme towards the end of each month with specific key dates coming up that month. Coming up in May we have: Brothers & sisters day , May 4th Day (Star Wars themed), World Fairtrade Day, Walk to School Week,  Spring Bank Holidays – two, whoop!… there are many more! Which of these can you use?

Need more support?

Do need more help on getting your business organised and planned around these calendar events? Want to have a good solid plan nailed down for the entire year? Why not book a 1:1 strategy call with me for just £99? Together we can spend time working on how each of these events can be linked to your business, design a marketing plan and plot in key dates for you to work to for stock, sales planning, and marketing. Email: Tel: 07767 870977

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