The shift in Easter/Passover dates from early- to mid-April moved holiday dollars from March to April, and as such, from the first to the second quarter. Easter is typically a big selling season for fresh produce and was the most disrupted of the major holidays in 2020 when most states were under shelter-in-place mandates. In its Easter 2022 overview, the National Retail Federation found that consumer engagement was nearly back to pre-pandemic levels, with 80% celebrating. Average per person spending on all holiday-related purchases was $170 — a three-year low. Amid 40-year high inflation, consumers expected to spend more on food, but pulled back on spending in all other categories, including clothing, gifts and decorations.
Inflation not only took the headlines for the Easter holiday, but also dominated everyday spending. “The April 2022 IRI survey of primary shoppers found that 90% of consumers believe food prices are somewhat or a lot higher than last year, of whom 96% are concerned about it,” shared Jonna Parker, Fresh Team Lead for IRI. “This includes 53% who are extremely concerned — the first time this number has moved past half of the population. This compares to 23% of consumers being extremely concerned over coronavirus in this same survey — meaning inflation has a far greater grip on the nation’s food spending than COVID-19 at this point in time.”