Whether consumers are celebrating the reaffirmation of faith or simply the return of spring, Easter is essentially about the dawn of a better day. In light of the somber year they witnessed in 2001, retail experts and entrepreneurs alike are looking forward to this Easter being as popular as ever.
"[Easter] signals a new beginning," says Adrienne Sobroza, product manager for Papel Giftware, A Cast Art Company. Deb Ratano, the company's director of marketing, says she sees that new-beginning theme coming through in more and more family celebrations each year. And because there's a long buildup to the actual day, entrepreneurs can take advantage of the strong selling potential for a longer time span with Easter products than they can with a one-day event like Valentine's Day. That's good news for Papel Giftware. The Monroe Township, New Jersey-based company distributes outdoor decorating and home décor items such as table settings, frames and wind chimes featuring hand-painted pansies; an abundance of chick, bunny and angel figurines and plush toys; and religious mementos, which all fit nicely into the Easter theme.
As families increasingly get together over the Easter holiday, Ratano expects one trend entrepreneurs will be taking advantage of is that more people will be buying gifts to give to their hosts. "A lot of people are moving away from candy and toward gifts," she says.
The big chocolate bunny in a basket isn't passé just yet, however. Bonnie Thompson, founder of gift basket company A Magic Basket in Upland, California, says her clients (both corporate and consumer) still want their goodies. "People want unique, but traditional," says Thompson, 40, who scours gourmet food and gift item trade shows across the nation to find the most inventive confections and plush.
Although Papel Giftware's Easter orders from retailers were "about the same" as last year at press time, Bonnie Thompson, who typically gets flooded with orders about two weeks before the big Sunday, thinks this Easter will be the most celebrated in recent memory. Says Thompson, "I think people are going to take anything that has to do with family and friendship a little more to heart this year."