April 7, 2011, 4:23 PM

A hopping time for Easter e-commerce sales

Online shoppers will spend almost $100 more this Easter than other consumers, a survey says.

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Easter sales are hopping, according to consumer spending projections released today by the National Retail Federation, a retail industry trade group. Online shoppers this year will spend an average of $225.43 on Easter candy, clothes and supplies across all in-store and e-retail channels, exceeding the $131.04 average spend for all adults shopping only in bricks-and-mortar stores. Total spending on Easter-related goods is expected to reach $14.6 billion this year, with 14.8% of adult consumers saying they’ll buy at least a portion of their Easter goods online.

The $131.04 average adult spending on Easter goods is up 10.5% from $118.60 last year. The National Retail Federation attributes part of the spending increase to the Easter holiday’s late date this year, which provides retailers with more time to sell holiday products. Easter is April 24. “Due to such a late holiday, Easter promotions will last all spring long,” says Matthew Shay, president and CEO of the National Retail Federation.

Online shoppers who responded to the National Retail Federations survey say they expect to spend more money on Easter goods than the average adult in every spending category covered in the survey. Online shoppers will spend an average of $60.55 on Easter clothing, compared with an average $48.86 spent by all adults. Online shoppers will spend $28.11 on candy compared with $20.64 for all adults, $61.74 on food compared with $47.29 and $31.66 on flowers compared with $23.96. The other categories and their spending splits are gifts ($46.70/$32.25), decorations ($28.11/$20.82), greeting cards ($17.20/$13.03) and other ($40.82/$31.40).

BIGresearch conducted the National Retail Federation’s Consumer Intentions & Actions Survey during the first week of March among 8,491 consumers.

E-retailers are working hard to capture the $2.1 billion the NRF says consumers will spend on Easter candy this year. Pam Macharola, president of Blair Candy's e-commerce division, says the candy e-retailer began promoting its Easter candy in February to keep pace with the offers of bricks-and-mortar retailers. Still, Macharola says she was surprised by how many consumers responded to the early marketing. “They bought it out very early. By March we had to contact manufacturers to locate more,” she says.

With more than two weeks until Easter, BlairCandy.com is running low on jelly beans—its best-selling product—long-eared chocolate bunnies and cream eggs. Macharola says that with so much time to sell Easter candy this year, the e-retailer is witnessing a phenomenon it’s rarely seen for the Easter holiday: repeat buyers. Average order value is up $4.67 from last year, too, she says, declining to reveal the actual order value.  “We’ve never had it this big for the Internet before,” she says.

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