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Cracking Consumer Trends this Easter

Much has changed over the last year, but some things always stay the same — including the return of the spring holidays we know and love. With St. Patrick’s Day, Passover, and Easter on the way, many marketers are wondering how the pandemic will affect consumer behavior this year.

Despite decent upticks in foot traffic, these holidays were among the first to be impacted by COVID-19 in 2020. Over the past year, however, people have adjusted to social distancing and taking precautionary measures, and this will be reflected in how they celebrate holidays in 2021.

Let’s take a look at what you can expect from Easter celebrations in the ongoing era of the pandemic.

In 2020, 77% of survey respondents said they would be celebrating Easter. This year, 88% of consumers told Numerator they typically celebrate the holiday, with most adjusting their plans this year–only 22% of respondents said COVID would not impact their plans this year. When it comes to activities like gathering with family and attending or hosting an egg hunt, the numbers are down.

As safety concerns and localized gathering restrictions continue to weigh on consumers, there are several key trends that brands can leverage to attract customers this Easter holiday. But first, a look at last year’s data.

Easter 2020

According to our GroundTruth Visitation Data from 2020, Dollar Stores, Grocery Stores, and Pharmacies still saw Easter-related peaks last year.

As expected, Easter-related travel declined in 2020 as people opted to stay home. Foot traffic to Airports & Transit Centers was down almost 28% in April 2020 compared to March 2020.

This mindset extended to shopping and dining. Retail and Restaurant locations shifted away from in-store shopping and dining in, adjusting to new delivery and pick-up methods to better meet their customers’ needs in the new normal, in-store visitation was down in April 2020.

While Quick Service Restaurants (QSRs) with built-in drive-thrus only saw traffic drop about 14% in April 2020 compared to March 2020, dine-in Restaurants saw an almost 30% drop in foot traffic. Similarly, as Retailers shifted to online operations, foot traffic to retail locations was down 41% in April 2020 compared to March 2020.

Easter 2021

This year, between the post-winter holiday spike in COVID-19 cases and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s recommendation to avoid events and gatherings, we anticipate that Easter will once again see people sticking close to home.

Where does that leave marketers? In 2020, traffic to retail stores began climbing back up in May, and visitation has stabilized. That’s good news for brands as the outlook for 2021 continues to shift in a much more positive direction than a year ago. To capitalize on it, brands can draw from the following 2020 trends to help build a successful marketing strategy this Easter.

  • Dressing up for the occasion. Highlight the celebration aspect of Easter. For example, the rising popularity of “loungewear” means high-end retailers can once again encourage consumers to dress up this holiday to help change up their routine.
  • Foodies will find a way to have their favorite Easter meal, and you can help them make it special. Promote catering and delivery services. Plans for family gatherings and egg hunts are likely to be significantly lower this year — but plans to cook at home remain intact. Numerator reports that takeout and delivery orders are expected to double compared to last year (2% 2020 vs. 4% 2021).
  • A reason to celebrate. Candy, Toys, Food, and Clothes will top this year’s gift list, according to industry reports. “Grocery and mass retailers will be top destinations for Easter purchases. Stores that cater to the variety of needs — from food & drinks to decorations & gifts — will be best suited to capture Easter spending.” – Numerator 

TIP: Messaging last-minute deals, shipping cut-offs, or in-store and curbside pick-up options can keep easy gifting solutions top of mind.

In spite of the pandemic, these trends indicate there’s still an opportunity to engage consumers this year. You can unlock more insights and trends in real-time with GroundTruth’s COVID-19 Foot Traffic Tracker.

Want to learn more about how location-based ad solutions can help your brand have a successful Easter this year? Fill out the contact form below, and an expert from our team will help you get started.

Evelyn Aguilera
Associate Director, Brand Strategy