Easter’s Early Arrival Squeezed Season’s Sales Performance


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Washington — The Easter bunny came early this year. The holiday’s March 31 timing meant that the season’s substantial sales spike happened in March rather than April this year — moving two of the big four confectionery holidays into the first quarter. This also left a mere six weeks between Valentine’s Day and Easter — the shortest selling window in several years, according to Anne-Marie Roerink, president of 210 Analytics, LLC. This further strained an already challenging marketplace in which shoppers are changing up where and what they purchase to balance their budgets across categories, she explained.

Comparing the six weeks leading up to Easter 2024 to the six weeks prior to Easter 2023 shows a mild dollar increase of 1.1 percent for total chocolate, candy, gum and mints, according to the Circana point-of-sale data. However, the growth was inflation driven with units down 3.6 percent.

Much like Valentine’s Day, chocolate experienced the bulk of the unit and volume pressure. While dollar sales were flat, volume sales fell 5.6 percent below year-ago levels. “Both everyday and seasonal Easter chocolate experienced softness in demand,” says Roerink. Seasonal Easter chocolate pound sales fell 7.5 percent below year-ago levels.

“Total non-chocolate also experienced softness in demand,” adds Roerink, “but seasonal Easter non-chocolate sales had a strong performance with gains in dollars, units and volume.” Pound sales experienced a 3.7 percent increase over last year’s Easter season — a sign that shoppers still treasure their Easter treats. 

In 2025, the holiday’s selling window will be substantially longer with an April 20th Easter timing. “This year, a lot of retailers opted to go out early with Easter merchandise, sometimes overlapping with Valentine’s Day sets,” Roerink points out. “Still, it is hard to drive multiple purchases in a six-week window. Next year, the additional three weeks will allow for a much better merchandising build that encourages shoppers to purchase Easter treats more than once.”