E-retailers revel in an Easter bank holiday bonanza as bad weather drives consumers online

  • Overall UK consumer spend is up by 8.2% this Easter compared to Easter 2012
  • Spring snowfall leads to a 6.4% rise in in-store spend, and a more impressive 16.5% rise in online spend
  • Bad weather results in garden centre sales plummeting by 45.2% and DIY store sales falling by 14.8% compared to last Easter

The coldest Easter Sunday on record1 has changed – but failed to dampen – the nation’s Easter spending habits. Overall consumer spend was up 8.2% this Easter compared to Easter last year, but many of us battened down the hatches from spring snowfall and stayed inside, according to consumer spend on Barclaycard debit and credit cards2.

Both in-store and online sales were up this Easter. However, while there was a 6.4% increase in in-store sales, bad weather drove consumers to shop online, resulting in online sales rocketing by 16.5% compared to last Easter. This is the highest growth rate so far in 2013.

The Easter bank holiday is traditionally the time to buy a summer wardrobe, new garden furniture and get to grips with the DIY, but this year’s bad weather meant a buck to these trends. Garden centres were the hardest hit, with spend plummeting by 45.2% and spend falling at DIY stores by 14.8% compared to last Easter.

The in-store retailing sector was also hit hard, with overall clothing spend down by 5.0% and department store spend down by 2.3% compared to Easter last year. However, despite in-store sales suffering substantially due to the wintry weather, online sales for these categories were solid, with online clothing spend actually up by 16.5% and online department store spend up by 18.3% compared to last Easter.

For those who were brave enough to venture outside their houses, it was mainly for indoor activities; with entertainment spend up 6.0% on last Easter. This included a 17.5% rise in cinema and theatre sales and a 5.9% rise in restaurant spend.

Many Brits decided to instead flee to warmer climates, with spend on travel up by 6.0% compared to last Easter, and airline spend in particular up by 17.5%.

Dave Chan, Chief Executive of Barclaycard Consumer Europe, said: “Despite experiencing the coldest Easter Sunday on record, the good news is it didn’t completely dampen the nation’s spending habits. However, we haven’t seen the usual Easter uplift in garden centre and DIY sales, as the bad weather meant they fell drastically compared to 2012 when we enjoyed unseasonably warm weather.

“Despite the retailing sector being hit the hardest, online sales for these categories were up – and by quite a significant amount. This significant shift to online will have had a major impact on retailer’s forecasted in-store Easter sales. Multi-channel retailers are in a significantly stronger position to adapt to changing consumer spending trends – whether this be through personal choice, or a simple change in the weather.”

Table to show in-store vs. online spend during Easter 2013, compared to Easter 2012

 

Week leading up to Easter

March 24 – 30 2013 vs. April 1 – 7 2012

 

Online

Offline

Overall

Essential

17.1%

7.2%

7.7%

FOOD & DRINK

19.3%

2.7%

3.6%

Petrol

 

21.5%

21.5%

Non-essential

16.4%

6.3%

8.6%

CLOTHING

16.5%

-9.2%

-5.0%

    Department Stores

18.3%

-4.7%

-2.3%

ENTERTAINMENT

14.0%

3.5%

6.0%

    Cinema/Theatre

41.8%

-4.5%

17.5%

     Restaurants

70.1%

4.3%

5.9%

HOTELS

9.9%

-6.4%

-4.3%

HOUSEHOLD

23.2%

-7.8%

-4.7%

     DIY Stores

-2.5%

-15.5%

-14.8%

     Electronic Stores

37.5%

2.3%

7.8%

    Furniture Stores

36.8%

8.8%

11.3%

    Garden Centres

-40.3%

-45.4%

-45.2%

TRAVEL

13.7%

0.4%

6.0%

     Airlines

18.6%

17.4%

17.5%

Overall

16.5%

6.4%

8.2%

Spend on petrol is up 21.5% on last Easter, mainly due to the panic buying3 at petrol stations which took place in March 2012, after rumours of a tanker drivers’ strike spread across the UK. Easter 2012 fell just after this panic buying, resulting in spend on petrol in the run up to Easter falling by 11.7% compared to Easter 2011.
www.barclaycard.co.uk

 

 

 

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