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Easter shoppers holding back, going online for bargains

Updated: April 20, 2013 6:33AM

Shoppers will be chintzy with their Easter treats this year, with spending on candy, decor, food and clothing expected to be flat, and more people than ever will shop online to find bargains, a retail group forecast Monday.

People worried about the economy and their financial security are looking for creative ways to celebrate without breaking the bank, said Matthew Shay, president and CEO of the National Retail Federation, a retail lobbying group that conducted the survey.

Most of people’s spending — 86.9 percent of those celebrating Easter — will go towards food for family brunch or dinner. They will spend, on average, $45.26 per person on the holiday meal, out of a forecast total Easter spending of $145.13, the retail survey found. The Easter holiday is forecast to generate $17.2 billion in total spending nationwide.

Two in 10 shoppers (21.1 percent) will go online to find bargains, up from last year’s 18.7 percent; 14.8 percent in 2011 and 11.4 percent in 2009.

Among smartphone owners, 43.3 percent will use their mobile device to research product information, compare prices and buy products, while 51 percent of tablet owners plan to do the same. Those numbers remain about the same as last year.

Easter outfits are still on shoppers’ lists, but at a slightly lower price than last year, the survey found. Nearly half (48.4 percent) will buy new clothes, spending an average $25.91 on the latest fashions, compared with 48.5 percent spending $26.11 last year.

Even more people will buy candy this year, with 90.5 percent spending an average of $20.66 on jelly beans, chocolate rabbits and other sweets, compared with 89.3 percent last year spending $20.35 on goodies.

Discount stores continue to be the most popular shopping venue, with 63.4 percent of Easter shoppers heading there for the best prices.

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