If you’ve never heard of an Easter tree, this could be the year you finally see one.
Searches for the seasonal decoration have shot up tenfold as shoppers aim to make the Easter weekend a celebration to remember.
It has become more significant this year as it marks the first time for months that many families and friends will be able to get together.
And shoppers are pulling out the stops to make the most of the chance to escape lockdown misery.
Sainsbury’s said searches for Easter trees on its website have surged by 977% compared to this time last year.
And the tree branches are unlikely to remain bare – searches for Easter decorations are up 948%.
However with lockdown restrictions being partially lifted, shoppers’ attention has also focused on garden improvements.
They want to spruce up their gardens to make the most of the easing of lockdown rules, which will allow them to host groups of up to six people in their garden or for two households to mix from Monday.
Asda said sales of BBQ and garden furniture have climbed more than 400% year-on-year as consumers prepare their outside areas for visitors.
Ebay UK reported that searches for outdoor bars soared 710% while outdoor projectors was up 416%, suggesting people are planning a range of different kinds of celebrations.
What are Easter trees?
Easter Trees are popular in Sweden where twigs are decorated with painted eggs and feathers.
In the UK the trend has been for artificial Christmas trees to be repurposed for Easter with fewer baubles but plenty of twinkly lights.
Online home goods store Wayfair said there have been 175% more searches for white artificial Christmas trees this month than in March last year.
The sale of Easter decorations has been growing with the celebration becoming more significant through the popularity of Easter Egg hunts.
The traditional British gift of an egg remains popular but shoppers have been snapping up a wider range of Easter-related gifts.
M&S said that while Easter egg sales are up 86% compared to last year, sales of its enlarged range of online Easter gifts are up 3,000%.
It sells Easter decorations and crackers – which come with the traditional hats and jokes associated with Christmas.
“Over the last year, we have seen customers making more of events than ever before as they seek out little moments of joy for them and their loved ones to break-up the challenges of lockdown,” said April Preston, M&S food director of product development.
Three-quarters of people say Easter will be the first time they’ll see loved ones this year, according to Sainsbury’s research.
Three out of five aid they’re planning to host Easter lunch outside while four out of five said wet weather won’t stop them going ahead with their outdoor plans.
“Lots of our customers are opting to enjoy their Easter weekend outdoors with families and friends this Spring,” said Claire Hughes, director of product & innovation at Sainsbury’s.
What are shoppers searching for? Aldi says it has seen great sales for a number of outdoor products in the run-up to Easter and lockdown restrictions easing.
“An example would be our outdoor Pizza Ovens which sold out within two days, showing that the public is looking forward to getting back outside in their gardens, in small groups, enjoying the warmer weather,” an Aldi spokesperson said.
Asda said it has seen strong demand for garden accessories, tools and seeds as customer ready their gardens in anticipation of hosting visitors in an outdoor setting.
“After spending months apart from families and friends, it’s understandable that they want to spend money on getting their gardens and homes ready in time,” said Rob McWilliam, Asda’s chief finance officer.
At the online crafts marketplace Etsy, there’s been a noticeable increase in searches for outdoor items.
It reported a 409% increase in searches for gardening items and a 328% rise for fire pits.
Are religious leaders concerned about Easter’s rebirth as a post-lockdown party?
“After this very long Covid, which has impacted the lives of all of us of every age, it’s wonderful that Easter should be the event that will bring people together to celebrate and have fun,” the Rev Beverley Mason, bishop of Warrington told The Times.
“Easter really lends itself to an explosion of love and joy and thankfulness for one another. Tinsel and baubles and gifts? I say, ‘Bring it on’ — together with the resurrection cocktails, the chocolate and the sparklers.”