Posted by Tom Whitehead in Leisure Restaurants Retail in Apr 2017

Easter has become increasingly important for retailers in recent years, and you only have to see the supermarket aisles groaning with Easter eggs to realise this. Chocolate eggs have become an essential item for anybody celebrating Easter, and retailers have adapted their offerings, and become more and more creative as time has passed. Competition is increasingly fierce and taste tests have become the battleground for brands.

Luxury chocolate specialists Hotel Chocolat are adept at seasonal items and have a big range of Easter themed treats. They’ve coupled this by running a social media campaign, in a bid to get themselves ahead of the competition.

Staying with the chocolate theme, hot drink specialists are getting in on the action and have concocted a number of chocolate drinks. It has even seen companies combine their efforts and Costa have again teamed up with Lindt to bring their customers the Lindt Hot Chocolate – which proved extremely popular last year.

Supermarkets use Easter for a variety of advertising campaigns. Something as simple as a recipe can be used to encourage engagement from the consumer, and not just entice them into their respective stores. Sainsbury’s and Waitrose have already released a number of different recipes for Easter.

Demand from consumers for Easter related items such as rabbits has been tackled head on by Pets at Home this year, and they have taken the step to not sell rabbits between the 14th and 17th of April, in a bid to raise awareness of responsible pet ownership. As bold as this may seem, it’s a great way for them to be seen as an authority in their industry.

It’s not all just bunnies and eggs though, and the offerings have been adapted to suit consumers growing wants and needs. A recent article in The Guardian stepped boldly to compare Easter to Christmas, with a stark rise in popularity of products like the Easter cracker. As strange as products like this may seem, it shows the influence of one season on another.

This crossover is more relevant with Easter and its relatively close proximity to Mothers’ Day. While this could affect the focus of the consumer, as many have only just bought chocolates and flowers for mum, it could just be seen as a continuation of one celebration to the other.

Personalisation is also an ongoing trend for some brands and personalised gifts work particularly well at Easter. Online shopping site Not on The High Street are one of the favourite choices in this field, and they have a wide number of vendors offering products that are customisable.

Demand for flowers increases around most of the key holidays in the year and Easter is certainly no different. A big favourite for consumers is the seasonal colours of yellow and flowers like daffodils are sold in abundance. As one to the biggest provider of flowers in the UK, Interflora will be looking to capitalise on these seasonal products.

Many of the top venues in the UK set out to offer Easter themed menus, dishes, and experiences. Hotel group Hotel Du Vin are well versed in seasonal offerings and are looking to draw customers in with their Easter Afternoon Tea Special. There will be a lot of competition in this field and highlights include The Ritz and the OXO.

Easter Sunday will be particularly popular and the obligatory roast will be at the forefront of many people’s minds. Supermarkets will be looking to supply everything they can for those looking to stay in, but restaurants and pubs will be vying for the attention of those dining out. Marco Pierre White’s restaurant group are hoping to be one such food group to get the diners in with their Easter Sunday lunch.

Smaller independents, such as bakeries, use Easter to display their creativity and craft. They offer a multitude of takes on classical creations. Exemplified by items like the hot cross doughnut from George’s Bakery in Cambridgeshire, or any manor of crème egg hijacking.

With a growing focus on events like Easter, the year’s schedule for retail and hospitality brands are looking more regimented, but also fuller. It will be interesting to see how things keep developing because it’s essential that companies keep evolving their products to keep consumers interested.

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