Traditionally a time for bonnets, bunnies and a surfeit of chocolate, Easter has increasingly taken on a new aspect, and more so since the lifting of Covid-19 restrictions.
Easter crackers, Easter wreaths, and Easter trees are now critical components in the commercialization of the Christian festival, with the bank holiday beginning to look a lot like Christmas.
Lifestyle magazines are groaning with glossy images of wreath-adorned front doors, while pastel-colored crackers and rabbit-emblazoned napkins nestle among wine glasses and gleaming cutlery on stylish dining tables.
With pandemic lockdowns and restrictions having disrupted family get-togethers for the past two years, the appetite for Easter decor in 2022 is greater than ever, it seems.
Many retailers’ websites are already out of stock of Easter cracker kits – the equivalent of the Christmas cracker but often featuring an abundance of bunnies and floral illustrations. Consumers are invited to “fill your own” with chocolate treats, while others contain fluffy, yellow miniature toy chicks. The supermarket retailers Aldi, Tesco and Sainsbury’s all appeared to have sold out of cracker kits online on Sunday.
According to research by retail analysts Mintel, Easter was estimated to be worth £ 550m to UK retailers in 2016, and the figure has since grown. In 2021, almost one in 20 Britons brought home decorations for Easter, rising to one in 10 between the ages of 25 and 40.
This year, with social distancing rules no longer imposed, retailers hope householders will be pushing the boat out even more on lavish decorations.
Eggs are no longer just made of chocolate, but are painted, beaded with Fabergé-inspired designs, and set to sparkle from special Easter twig trees. At John Lewis, sales of Easter trees are reportedly up 65%.
Popular wreaths feature artificial flowers, eggs and twigs, while others incorporate lights and candles.
Hobbycraft, whose Easter range includes fillable eggs and jute bunny gift bags, offers in-store workshops on creating the perfect wreath and bonnet. Sales of its Easter chocolate egg molds have grown by 100% on last year, while searches for its Easter tree centrepieces increased by 45% in March 2022 compared to the previous month.
Katherine Paterson, the customer development director at Hobbycraft, said there was also a significant move towards sustainability, with blank mache, wooden and ceramic Easter decorations proving popular. Searches for its mache cracked eggs and hanging ceramic baskets had increased by 300% and 122% respectively in 2022 compared with last year.
“We have seen a huge increase in the demand for decorations that can be reused every year as customers are becoming increasingly aware of waste and are looking for ways to reduce waste and find alternative, plastic-free solutions,” she said.
Lisa Cherry, seasonal buyer at John Lewis, told the Mail on Sunday: “Customers are looking to create their biggest ever Easter celebrations this year and bring friends and family together.”
The retailer Wayfair’s style adviser, Nadia McCowan Hill, told Ideal Homes magazine: “After a cold, wet and stormy winter, we’re looking forward to brighter times and being able to celebrate the arrival of spring. 2022 is all about marking milestones and welcoming new hopeful chapters and it seems UK shoppers are planning to go big this Easter, with customer searches increasing by up to 500% for Easter trees, hanging eggs and Easter wreaths. ”