Easter spending set to tip $3 billion: where the money is going

Australians are expected to spend close to $3 billion this Easter, with high-end chocolate brands, craft beer and cider, and travel among the top picks for the bumper holiday period.

With many individuals and families expected to take advantage of two long weekends and multiple public holidays over the next two weeks, a new report from IBISWorld forecasts that Easter spending will total approximately $2.9 billion this year, up 3.4% on last year’s figure of $2.8 million.

The average consumer is expected to spend $125.34 on Easter-related products and services this year. Here are some of the key trends for the Easter break.

Shoppers search for quality chocolate

As was the case in previous years, chocolate will lead this year’s Easter charge with Australians expected to spend $191.4 million on sweet treats. This represents a 4.5% increase on 2013, when spending on chocolate reached $183.2 million.

According to IBISWorld general manager Karen Dobie, a trend towards Fair Trade and organic chocolate will continue this year, with “ethics taking precedence over price” for many shoppers, while speciality chocolate shops will benefit from gift-giving shoppers opting for high-end chocolate brands.

Arno Backes, co-owner and master chocolatier at Melbourne speciality chocolate store Ganache is hopeful  the store’s Easter sales will surpass last year’s results, with regular shoppers and a “healthy number” of new customers contributing to positive sales so far.

Backes says the timing of Easter this year is important. He told SmartCompany the lining up of the Easter break with school holidays and Anzac Day will “certainly” boost chocolate sales, as will the fact that Easter is happening later than last year.

“The weather is in our favour this year as people are more likely to buy chocolate in cooler temperatures,” he says.

Among the top picks for Ganache customers this year are handcrafted and hand-painted eggs and bunnies. Backes has also observed a trend among his customers for “quality” products as opposed to cheaper items.

A drink at home instead of the pub

The trend towards boutique beer, cider and imported wine appears set to continue this Easter, with IBISWorld predicting that Aussies will consume more than double the amount of alcohol at home than at pubs and bars.

IBISWorld predicts alcohol spending will reach $1227.8 million over the Easter period, a 3% increase on the year before. It’s likely that many families will pair their drink of choice with another traditional Easter favourite – seafood. Spending in the fish and seafood category is expected to reach $24.4 million, up 3.4% on the year before.

Overall, IBISWorld forecasts  Australians will spend $1227.8 million on food and beverages over the Easter period, an increase of 3% on last year’s total of $1192 million.

Family road trips back in favour

Many Australian families will embark on an old-fashioned family road trip this Easter, with IBISWorld reporting that driving is still viewed as more affordable than flying for families.

However, Dobie says airlines will still receive a boost from the Easter period, with singles and couples expected to use the break to jet off overseas. “Easter is the longest holiday period of the year outside of Christmas and New Year’s,” says Dobie. “As a result, it is one of the most lucrative periods for domestic travel in Australia and for short-haul international routes.”

Spending on holidays and travel is expected to reach $1244.5 million, up 3.7% on last year’s total of $1200.1 million.

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