Easter Statistics [2024]: Are Food Costs Affecting Easter Plans?

Easter is traditionally a time of regrowth and renewal. These statistics offer insight into how consumers shop for the holiday and their favorite Easter treats.

Bunny and Easter eggs
Updated May 13, 2024
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In 2023, Easter is on Sunday, April 9, so there is still time to dye eggs and help the Easter Bunny fill those baskets with delicious treats.

Many families in the U.S. will likely hunt for Easter eggs and sit down to a meal with family and friends. With rising prices and shortages of everything from meat to eggs, this year's celebration might be a little more subdued but no less memorable.

Check out these Easter facts to help you wow your dinner guests and make a plan to help you spend on the things that matter this year.

Key takeaways

  • 72% of people say rising food costs will impact their Easter plans.
  • In 2022, about 51% of people planned in-person celebrations, compared to 43% in 2021.
  • $2.6 billion worth of Easter candy is sold annually in the U.S. alone.
  • 8 in 10 Americans celebrate Easter.
  • Americans spent $6.58 billion on Easter food in 2022.
  • 90% of U.S. consumers plan to include chocolate and candy in Easter baskets.
  • 37% of those surveyed planned to attend Easter church services in person in 2022, up from 28% in 2021.
In this article

72% of people say rising food costs will impact their Easter plans

Graphic of stats on how rising food costs impact Easter plans

According to a 2023 survey of 1,000 U.S. adults conducted by our team at FinanceBuzz, inflation and the rising costs of items like eggs and candy are leading people to change their Easter plans. The majority of respondents (72%) said rising costs will impact their Easter plans, including 43% who said they'd be looking for more sales than normal, 16% who said they'd likely cut back on food for their holiday dinner, and 14% who plan on having fewer guests for dinner.

Other modifications to Easter plans include using more coupons (24%), limiting the type and the amount of candy put into Easter baskets (22%), and switching from real eggs to fake or plastic eggs (20%).

Source: FinanceBuzz

Easter is the second biggest candy holiday

Although Halloween is usually the biggest candy holiday overall, Easter is a close second and, according to some reports, occasionally overtakes the spooky season.

The U.S. is estimated to have spent just under $3 billion on Easter candy in 2022, an increase of $1 billion since 2007.

According to the National Retail Federation, in 2022, U.S. adults spent an average of $169.79 on Easter overall, and candy was the top purchase for 90% of respondents.

Food and gifts were second and third, with 88% and 63% of respondents, respectively, saying they planned to purchase those items for Easter. Clothing and decorations were closely linked, with just under half (49% and 48%, respectively) of those surveyed saying they planned to purchase those items.

Source: Statista, National Retail Federation

The majority of candy purchased is chocolate

Candy is a key part of the Easter celebration for people in the U.S., and 70% of the candy purchased for Easter is chocolate. Reese’s milk chocolate peanut butter eggs and Cadbury creme eggs are the two most popular chocolates purchased, followed by chocolate bunnies, which came in third.

According to Statista, the chocolate market in the U.S. is $49.48 billion, with seasonal chocolate making up about $3.3 billion across all holidays. The annual sales growth of seasonal chocolate is 13.5%.

Source: Dosomething.org, Statista

76% of Americans think the ears of a chocolate bunny should be eaten first

If you eat chocolate bunny ears first, you’re not alone — about three-quarters of Americans do the same. About 90 million chocolate bunnies are sold in the U.S. annually, and $2.6 billion is spent on Easter candy in the U.S. alone. In 2021, Germany produced 214 million chocolate Easter bunnies.

The largest chocolate bunny ever created, according to the Guinness Book of World Records, was made in Brazil in 2017 by the Equipe de Casa de Chocolate at Shopping Uberaba. The bunny weighed 4,245.5 kg. (9,359 lbs.) and was created by nine professionals working eight consecutive days. It was 4.52 meters tall (14.82 feet) and 2.11 meters wide (6.92 feet).

Source: Guinness World Records, Good Housekeeping, Statista

80% of people celebrated Easter in 2022

Although most of the country said they intended to celebrate Easter in 2022, Easter still tends to be less popular than other holidays.

Christmas and Thanksgiving are the most popular holidays in the U.S., with 85% and 84%, respectively, saying that they celebrate the particular holiday. Most people say they spend the Easter holiday cooking a special meal, visiting family and friends, watching TV, and doing an Easter egg hunt.

Eight in ten Americans say they will celebrate Easter, and both men and women are equally as likely to celebrate the holiday (79% of men and 80% of women). The number of people celebrating Easter in 2020 and 2021 decreased compared to previous years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Source: Statista, National Retail Federation

The largest Easter egg hunt had more than 500,000 eggs

The White House Easter Egg Roll tends to be the most talked about Easter egg hunt in the U.S. The first White House Easter egg roll was held in 1878 by President Rutherford B. Hayes, although some accounts believe the egg roll itself may have started with Abraham Lincoln.

In 2022, an estimated 30,000 people participated in the egg roll celebration, including military families and the crew from the U.S.S. Delaware, a U.S. Naval submarine. The event is so popular that tickets are distributed via a lottery.

The biggest Easter Egg hunt was held in Florida in April 2007 at Adventure Parks Group, LLC. There were 501,000 eggs scattered over the grounds, and 9,753 children (with their parents) took part in the hunt.

Source: Guinness World Records, White House History, Whitehouse.gov

People between the ages of 35 and 44 plan to spend more than other age groups

While it’s likely that most spending is done by parents or people buying things for children, in 2019, people ages 35 to 44 spent $185.37 on their Easter celebrations, second only to the age group of 25 to 34, who paid $189.25. Those aged 18 to 24 spent $146.03 in 2019, and those aged 45-54 paid $148.37. People aged 65+ spent the least, averaging $108.96 per person.

Comparatively, in 2022, the National Retail Federation says people aged 35 to 44 spent more than all other groups, with average spending of $232.65, although that is almost $30 less per person than in 2021.

Men were expected to spend more than women on Easter in 2022 ($189.94 versus $150.64). The per-person average is down about $20 for men from 2021, while women will likely spend the same amount as in 2021.

Source: National Retail Federation, Statista

Peeps are the best-selling non-chocolate Easter candy

Although those neon-colored marshmallows tend to be a love ‘em or hate ‘em Easter item, the holiday just wouldn’t be the same without them. According to Good Housekeeping, Americans eat about 1.5 million Peeps during the Easter season, and the Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, factory that makes Peeps creates about 5.5 million daily.

Despite being so associated with the holiday, 33% of people surveyed by grocery delivery company Instacart said that Peeps are among their least favorite candies. Roughly 25% of those surveyed say they still eat the marshmallow chicks and bunnies for the sake of tradition.

Fun Fact
In 1953, it took 27 hours to make one Peep, according to Good Housekeeping. Today, it takes about six minutes, thanks to a machine called The Depositor, which creates the iconic shape automatically.

Source: PR Newswire, Good Housekeeping, Instacart via Real Simple

More than 16 million jelly beans are eaten during Easter

Jelly beans were first produced in 1930 and quickly became a symbol of the Easter holiday. According to Instacart’s 2022 survey conducted by The Harris Poll, jelly beans were on the top ten list of favorite Easter candies twice. In the number three spot were the Starburst Easter Jelly Beans, the favorite Easter candy in North and South Dakota, North and South Carolina, and Florida.

Brach’s Jelly Bird Eggs were number eight on the list, just ahead of marshmallow Peeps at number nine. According to Real Simple magazine, jelly beans see a 109% sales growth in the two weeks leading up to Easter and are second only to marshmallow treats, which experience a 111% growth over the same time frame.

Source: Good Housekeeping, Instacart via Real Simple

According to a National Retail Federation 2022 survey, the top Easter celebration plan in the U.S. was cooking food to share with family and friends. 56% of the 8,155 people surveyed said they plan to cook a meal, down slightly from 2021 at 59%.

Respondents also said they plan to visit family and friends in person (51%, up from 43% in 2021), watch TV (33%, down from 43% in 2021), plan an Easter egg hunt (32%, slightly up from 2021’s 31%), and go to church in person (37%, up from 2021’s 28%).

Source: National Retail Federation

Many Americans will serve ham on their Easter tables, though it cost more in 2022 than in recent years. According to data analytics company NielsenIQ, ham cost 52.9% more in 2022 than in 2021, and spiral-cut ham cost 46.1% more. In general, meat was up 13.6% from 2021 to 2022, and lamb, another popular Easter meat, was up 18.5%.

According to 210 Analytics via IRI Worldwide, rising inflation didn’t stop Americans from spending on meat last year. In April 2022, meat sales reached $6.5 billion, up 7.5% from 2021. In 2022, people in the U.S. bought $252 million worth of ham, up 19.6% from 2021.

Source: NielsenIQ, 210 Analytics via IRI Worldwide

Americans spent $3.44 billion on new clothes for Easter

Wearing new clothes for good luck the rest of the year is an old Easter tradition that some people still embrace. According to Good Housekeeping, wearing your new clothes to church and showing off your style became the basis of the famous Easter Parade. In 2019, U.S. consumers spent an average of $27.29 per person on new Easter clothes. According to the National Retail Federation, that number increased slightly in 2022 to $27.93, or $3.44 billion in total.

Physical shopping became increasingly popular after two years of primarily online shopping due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Only one in three people (about 35%) said they planned to buy Easter supplies online, while 50% said they would shop in person at discount stores. Four in 10, or 41%, said they planned to shop at a department store for Easter clothing and supplies.

Source: Good Housekeeping, Statista, National Retail Federation

49% of Americans will spend time coloring hard-boiled eggs over Easter and say that egg dyeing is an integral part of the holiday. In a 2022 study conducted by Suzy, Inc. for Signature Brands, 56% of people said they were looking to make family memories, 54% said they were looking for a fun family activity, and 53% said it was a way to spend quality time with family.

81% of respondents said they planned to purchase a kit to help them dye Easter eggs. Sixteen million dye kits and 180 million eggs to dye are purchased yearly, though inflation and recent shortages may reduce that number in 2023.

Purple Easter eggs are the favorite color of 31% of the people surveyed, followed by blue (24%), pink (19%), and green (10%).

Source: PR Newswire, Insider.com

Easter is the fifth largest card-sending holiday in the U.S.

According to greeting card company Hallmark, an estimated 40 million Easter cards are sent annually in the U.S. While that is a lot of cards, it's nothing compared to Christmas, the largest card-sending holiday, where an estimated 1.3 billion cards are sent out.

Of course, we cannot forget Easter baskets. It’s estimated that as many as 60% of parents send Easter baskets to their adult kids, even after they’ve moved out of the family home. 44% of consumers say chocolate is the best treat to include in an Easter basket, followed by jelly beans at 20%. Candy-coated eggs and marshmallow candy came in third and fourth, with 18% and 15%, respectively, according to the National Confectioners Association.

Source: Hallmark, National Confectioners Association

Other Easter trivia

  • Easter Sunday is an important holiday for Christians, celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
  • Easter eggs may have originated as a way to celebrate that new life. The tradition of giving eggs may predate Easter, as they’re a symbol of fertility in many cultures.
  • Holy Week is the week preceding Easter and starts with Palm Sunday, followed by Maundy Thursday and Good Friday.
  • Easter lilies are a newer Easter tradition, becoming popular after World War I. Like eggs, they may also symbolize hope and rebirth.
  • Although it’s now thought of as a Christian holiday, Easter is likely named after an Anglo-Saxon goddess, Eostre.
  • The concept of Easter bunnies delivering chocolate eggs and other candies originated in Germany during the Middle Ages. German settlers brought the tradition to the U.S.
  • Western Christianity celebrates Easter on the first Sunday following the first full moon after the spring equinox on March 21. Eastern Orthodox churches determine the date of Easter using a different calendar, and they never celebrate Easter before or during Passover.

Source: History Cooperative, Time, Good Housekeeping, Dosomething.org, Britannica

How to celebrate Easter without breaking the bank

Unfortunately, rising inflation and supply chain issues means this Easter may be more expensive than in years past. If you’re wondering how to manage your money and still get the holiday supplies you need, consider the following:

Look for coupons: Take advantage of any deals you find on candy, toys, or food that can help you save money. Consider visiting more than one store to find what you need and start with the least expensive stores, like a dollar or discount store, first.

Redeem rewards points: Consider cashing in some cashback or other rewards points to help you buy Easter supplies. The best rewards credit card will let you trade points for cash back or a statement credit to your account, making it easier to afford ham or other Easter delicacies.

Consider decorating paper eggs: If the price and availability of real eggs have you shaking your head, consider switching to fake eggs this year. Hollow plastic eggs can be filled with candy or small toys to fill an Easter basket or hide in the backyard.

Tip
Craft stores may offer paper mache or cardboard eggs that kids can decorate with paint and markers.

Host Easter brunch: To help save on expensive items like meat, consider hosting brunch instead of a fancy dinner. Breakfast food like baked french toast, pastries and muffins, or an oatmeal bar with customizable toppings are relatively easy and have low-cost ingredients. Ask others to bring a dish to help round out the table and share the cost.

Repurpose items around the house: Instead of buying new Easter baskets or Easter clothes, consider reusing similar items. Help your kids make and decorate their Easter baskets with craft supplies and using boxes or baskets you already have. Then fill the baskets with candy, small toys, or activity books from the dollar store.

Warning
Be sure to avoid using that plastic Easter grass most of us grew up with — it can be deadly to animals who ingest it.

Bottom line

Easter signals the arrival of spring and a return of warmer weather. Although rising prices might damper some Easter traditions, being with family and friends is what the holiday is about. Spend some time bargain hunting to get the best prices on supplies and groceries, but don’t forget to enjoy the holiday with your loved ones.

Sources

1. Good Housekeeping - 20 Festive Easter Facts That You Probably Haven’t Heard Before

2. Dosomething.org - 11 Facts About Easter

3. Statista - Are You Celebrating Easter This Year?

4. Insider - 21 Fun Facts about Easter that Might Surprise You

5. Real Simple - These Are the Most Popular Easter Candies in America, According to Instacart

6. Statista - Average Planned Spending on Clothing for Easter per Capita in the United States from 2009 to 2019

7. Statista - Confectionery- United States

8. Business Insider - Here’s What People Around the Globe Eat for Easter

9. Statista - Seasonal Candy in the U.S. - Statistics & Facts

10. Statista - Consumer’s Favorite Seasonal Easter Candy in the United States in 2022

11. Statista - Total planned Easter Candy Expenditure in the United States from 2007 to 2022

12. Marketing Charts - Consumers’ Easter-Related Spending Expected to Dip

13. National Retail Federation- More Consumers Hunting for Bargains for Easter

14. Statista - Average Planned Spending on Easter Per Capita in the United States in 2019 by Age Group

15. IRI Worldwide - Strong Easter Item Sales in April 2022

16. Peeps brand via PRNewswire - PEEPS Debuts Seven Tasty New Treats This Easter

17. NielsenIQ - Easter Dinner is Going to Cost More This Year

18. National Confectioners Association - More Than 90% of Americans Will Share Confectionery This Easter

19. National Retail Federation - Holiday Data and Trends - Easter

20. Statista - National holidays in the U.S.- Statistics & Facts

21. Guinness World Records - World's Largest Easter Egg Hunt

22. Guinness World Records- World's Largest Rabbit Made of Chocolate

23. Signature Brands via PRNewswire - Survey Shows Decorating Eggs Key Part of Easter Tradition

24. Hallmark - Easter

25. Hallmark - Christmas

26. Statista - Production Volume of Chocolate Easter Bunnies in Germany for Easter 2021

27. History Cooperative - Eostre: The Mystery Goddess Who Gave Easter its Name

28. Time - Here's Why Easter Eggs Are a Thing

29. Britannica - Easter

Author Details

Kate Daugherty

Kate Daugherty is a professional writer with a passion for providing others the head start they deserve on their financial journeys. Largely self-taught, Kate relied on books, blogs, and trial-and-error to learn how to budget and save for the future, all while working to pay back about $15,000 in student loans.