Commercialization of Easter

Easter has become commercialized like many other holidays to hit the United States (i.e. Christmas and Mother’s Day). There is an importance placed on candy, eggs, and flowers. James Barnett, in his article analyzing the cultural shift in the commercialization of Easter, states, “Commercial advertising suggests and extols the desirability of personal enjoyment and self-indulgence at Easter. This is directed at women in particular where clothes, perfumes, and flowers are concerned, but includes children also, and adult males to a lesser degree. Advertisers are well aware of powerful, cultural attitudes in this country which impute prestige to practices of conspicuous consumption.” 1

Easter has become the second most candy-eating day of the year (following Halloween), by pounds consumed, according to the National Confectioner’s Association.  Here are some interesting facts about the amount of candy sold and consumed:

  • In 2000, Americans spent nearly $1.9 billion on Easter candy, while Halloween sales were nearly $2 billion; Christmas, an estimated $1.4 billion; and Valentine’s Day, just over $1 billion.
  • Ninety million chocolate Easter bunnies are produced each year.
  • Each Easter season, Americans buy more than 700 million Marshmallow Peeps, shaped like chicks, as well as Marshmallow Bunnies and Marshmallow Eggs, making them the most popular non-chocolate Easter candy.
  • Americans consume 16 billion jellybeans at Easter, many of them hidden in baskets. If all the Easter jellybeans were lined end to end, they would circle the globe nearly three times. 2

Easter/Passover also accounts for 13% of all floral purchases made for a holiday. Here are some interesting facts about the amount of flowers sold: 3

  1. Barnett, James H. “The Easter Festival–A Study in Cultural Change.” American Sociological Review (1949): 62-70. Print.
  2. Johnson, David. “Easter Candy Facts.” Infoplease. 2000–2007 Pearson Education, publishing as Infoplease. 15 May. 2011 <>.
  3. Data collected by IPSOS-Insight FloralTrends Consumer Tracking Study, 2005.

Leave a Reply