Easter, which falls between March 29 and April 1, is traditionally a period of heavy consumption, and business information analysts Ibisworld have lifted the lid on continued strong holiday expectations and changing tastes in F&B and confectionery Down Under.
Typically, spending during Easter week about 50% higher than other typical weeks in the year, and in 2013, that expenditure is expected to grow by over 5% to reach A$185m.
But consumers are no longer continuing to opt for their traditional favourites, with many Australians opting instead for dark organic indulgences over sweet milk chocolate.
Dark and luxury chocolate
"Australians are becoming increasingly health conscious. Dark chocolate is expected to be a popular choice this Easter as it is regarded as a healthier indulgence", said Karen Dobie of Ibisworld. "Sustainability will also be on people's minds, with fair trade chocolates tipped to be a favoured gift."
In addition to dark and fair trade chocolates, Dobie expects Australia’s relatively promising economic situation to bring premium and luxury chocolate to the fore, with brands such as Lindt and Haigh’s doing especially well out of Easter. At the moment, consumer sentiment is improving, interest rates remain low and overall economic trends are positive in Australia.
Conversely, consumers will be hit by high chocolate prices as a result of the global rise in the cost of cocoa.
Ibisworld also forecast that Australians will spend more than A$3bn—equating to A$132.85 per capita—across the four-day Easter break, a slight increase on the A$130.33 per capita they spent last year.
However, it said that more families would spend the break at home, preferring traditional celebrations and confectionery gifts over overseas getaways and fancy restaurant meals. This is largely because Easter will fall outside school holidays for most states.
As a result, supermarkets and butchers should expect a boost in spending on traditional barbecue favourites, while fishmongers and liquor retailers will also do well.
Within the food segment, Ibisworld anticipates fish and seafood expenditure to enjoy growth of almost 5% by extending its popularity from Good Friday, when many Australians abstain from eating red meat, across to Easter Sunday with prawns and barbequed fish being favoured.
Dobie predicted that imported wines, cider and craft beers will be among the firm favourites, with Easter alcohol spending tipped to come in at A$137.6m.
Overall, she anticipated food and beverage spending would reach A$1.55 billion—a 3.6% increase on last year's outlay.