Traditionally seen as the kickoff to spring, Easter couldn’t come at a better time this year for Americans eager to say goodbye to winter. According to NRF’s 2010 Easter Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey, conducted by BIGresearch, holiday celebrants will spend slightly more this year with the average person expected to shell out $118.60, up from $116.59 in 2009. Total spending is expected to reach $13.03 billion.

While spending on most items will remain the same as 2009, children can expect more jelly beans, flavored marshmallows and even gifts in their Easter baskets this year. The average person will spend $17.29 on candy, compared to $16.55 in 2009, and $18.16 on gifts, up from $17.30 last Easter. Other holiday purchases include clothing ($19.03), food ($37.45), flowers ($7.84), decorations ($6.34) and greeting cards ($6.30).

“With signs of spring popping up everywhere, shoppers are eager to get their hands on bright, colorful Easter merchandise,” said Tracy Mullin, President and CEO, NRF. “Warmer weather and special holiday promotions are the perfect mix to get people out of their homes and into stores as spring approaches.”

When it comes to buying Easter merchandise, most Americans will shop at discount (64.8%) and department stores (33.2%). People will also head to specialty stores such as florists or gift/greeting card stores (22.0%), online (13.1%), specialty clothing stores (7.0%) and catalogs (3.7%).   While 25-34 year-olds will be spending the most this Easter at $136.79, more 18-24 year olds will buy gifts. Nearly three-quarters (71.3%) of young adults ages 18-24 will buy gifts this year, compared to 65.8% of 25-34 year olds and 65.5% of 35-44 year olds. Additionally, 18-24 year olds will spend an average of $125.85 on Easter merchandise, followed by 35-44 year olds ($124.66), 45-54 year olds ($117.54), 55-64 year olds ($106.82) and 65+ ($98.72).

“Often living in another state because of college or a career, young adults feel compelled to bring candy for the little ones and even greeting cards for others when visiting for Easter,” said Phil Rist, Executive Vice President, Strategic Initiatives, BIGresearch. “After spending the last few months indoors and out of the snow, many Americans are looking forward to celebrating a great day with family and friends.”

2010 Easter Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey, conducted by BIGresearch for the National Retail Federation (NRF). 12 Mar. 2010.  Web. 12 Mar. 2010.