Easter Sales Expected to Be Soft Boiled

NEW YORK (MainStreet) — The Easter eggs are still colorful, but there may be fewer of them in the basket this year. The average American celebrating Easter will spend $137.46 this year, compared to an average of $145.13 in 2013, according to the National Retail Federation's Easter spending survey. Total spending for the season is expected to reach nearly $16 billion.

Also See: The Coolest Easter Egg Hunts Around the World

The survey says fewer Americans are celebrating Easter this year: 80.3% versus 83% last year. But those who do plan to celebrate will spend the most on a traditional Easter Sunday meal, with a majority (85.7%) shelling out an average of $43.18 on groceries or dining out – a $5 billion addition to the economy.

Also See: 8 Ways to Be Frugal on Easter

Of course, it's also a traditional time to add to the spring wardrobe, with more than four in ten (42.9%) of the survey respondents planning on purchasing apparel -- total clothing spending is expected to reach $2.6 billion. Additional Easter expenditures will be on gifts ($2.4 billion) and candy ($2.2 billion), as well as flowers and decorations ($1.1 billion each).

"Though they are planning to trim their budgets in terms of spending on food, clothes and gifts, most will look for personal and fun items that won't break the bank in order to enjoy the day," said research director Pam Goodfellow.

Of those who own smartphones, nearly one-quarter (23.4%) will use their device while shopping to gather information on potential purchases and compare prices. Just 12.2% will make an actual purchase with their smartphone. But nearly one in five (19.2%) tablet owners will make a purchase on their device, as well as research holiday gifts, apparel and other items (30.2%).

While the NRF survey predicts a softening consumer demand for Easter revenue, last month retail sales topped $433 billion, an increase of 1.1% seasonally adjusted month-to-month, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The March sales total includes automobile, gasoline station, and restaurant sales. The Census also reported retail sales year-over-year increased 3.8%.

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