Certain retailers in Australia have a unique opportunity to take advantage of the long Easter break this month. While stores are required to close on Good Friday, the holiday period from April 18 to 21 is expected to inspire bumper retail spending due to the Easter weekend coinciding with the April school holidays.

IBISWorld has estimated Australians will spend almost $3 billion over the Easter period this year, up 3.4 per cent on last year. This means the average consumer is forecast to pay $125.24 on Easter-related products and services this month.

With ANZAC Day following Easter on Friday April 25, a large number of Australians are planning to purchase experiences, rather than – or as well as – products this year.

“The growth in Easter consumer spending will be primarily due to an increase in available leisure time, particularly with the convenient timing of the school holidays. Many employees will take leave over the three day working week between Easter and ANZAC Day to enjoy some time off,” IBISWorld (Australia) General Manager Karen Dobie explained.

With retail trends favouring holidays and travel, retailers in Australia may need to work a little harder to attract consumers into their local stores this month. However, perhaps unsurprisingly, food, particularly chocolate, and beverages are still key winners in the Easter consumer habits.

The IBISWorld research found Australians are planning to spend $1.2 billion on holidays and travel over the Easter break this year, up by 3.7 per cent on 2013. Food and beverage spending has also climbed by 3 per cent and should draw the same amount ($1.2 billion) from consumers.

Although the chocolate industry is a smaller market on its own, spending in this area has increased the most – climbing by 4.5 per cent to reach $191 million.

“While traditional chocolate brands will contribute the most to sales, there is a continuing trend towards fair trade and organic brands as consumers begin to shop with ethics taking precedence over price,” said Ms Dobie.

Similar to Christmas, Easter is considered a time of giving. A significant portion of the chocolate purchased is expected to become gifts for children, family members and friends.

If you’re hoping to make the most of the Easter weekend this year, now is the time to contact retail consultants to develop an effective marketing campaign.