Analysis: Easter lays an egg for independent retailers

We’re just a few days away from egg dying and chocolate bunnies, and you know us—we love a good that’s-not-what-I-expected small business story!

Today, we’re taking a look at the impact Easter has on local retailers. We wanted to know if consumers drove an increase in revenue—and if so, how much—in the week leading up to one of the biggest holidays of the year. So, we crunched the transaction data for more than 54,000 small, independent retailers.

Easter is a big deal in the United States, ranking right up there with Christmas. 84% of Americans observe Easter, whereas 90% of American’s celebrate Christmas. In that same context, one of the first things we learned about the local retailers is that Easter is their 2nd worst day of the year when it comes to sales volume, ranking just ahead of Christmas, which is the slowest day of the year.

However, the similarities stop there. While the Christmas season is inarguably the best time of year for the retail industry as a whole, the run-up to Easter is mostly average for local retailers. Here is the breakdown of what we learned from our data analysis.

The average day for local retailers

Before we jump into the specifics of Easter’s impact, it will help to take a quick look at the average day for local retailers in America.  On any given day, the average independent retailer will have about 15 transactions, averaging about $113 apiece. Altogether, local retailers make about $1,717 on an average day.

Easter is 6% better than the average week for local retailer revenue

In the retail industry, the holiday itself is rarely ever the biggest spending day. While many customers tend to wait until the last minute to make their purchases, most consumers don’t wait until the day of a holiday to shop. So, it’s not surprising that Easter Sunday is the second-worst day of the entire year for sales in the local retail industry. But that’s not really surprising when you take into account how slow Sundays are to begin with.

Here’s a look at the week leading up to Easter Sunday compared to the average week for local retailers. As you can see, the average Sunday’s revenue is about half the size of any other day of the week. Stack a family holiday on top of that, and it’s a double whammy against revenue.

Perhaps driven by last-minute shoppers, the Friday before Easter gets an extra 7% bump in revenue, making it the 47th-best day of the year.

Top gifts given at Easter

You might be thinking that a 6% boost in sales isn’t that much, and you’re right. The main takeaway from this analysis is that while Easter is in the same universe as Christmas in terms of observance, it’s light years away in terms of impact on small, local businesses. 

That said, any lift in sales can be significant for thin-margin industries, and 6% is nothing to sneeze at. The Easter effect on sales is especially noteworthy when you consider the difference in the types of gift giving and spending during the spring holiday.

The top gifts given at Easter:

  • 75% give chocolate, candy, and sweets
  • 30% give colored eggs
  • 23% give flowers

Those aren’t exactly the most expensive gifts. And when you consider consumers typically spend $113 per purchase, it would take a lot of chocolate to bump the average purchase price more than 6%.

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Womply specializes in helping small business owners understand their business better. Womply’s software provides unparalleled insights into revenue trends, local market trends, seasonality, and how sales compare to other businesses nearby. Learn more, plus get free reputation monitoring and customer insights when you sign up for Womply Free!

Our data science team analyzed transactions at 54,000 local and independent retailers across all 50 states across all 365 days of the 2017 calendar year. That analysis gave us a comprehensive look at when local retailers make the most money and how prominent days like Easter and Christmas rank in the grand scheme of things.

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