After a year of turbulence and lockdown living, there is finally light at the end of the tunnel. But families aren’t looking to go out and socialise just yet, with celebrations this Easter being a family-only affair. Although excitement for lockdown lifting is palpable, families are increasingly cautious compared to last year.

There is excitement for lockdown lifting…

Families have been living in the ‘micro’ world of lockdown for a long time confined physically and socially to smaller and smaller spaces. ‘Macro’ adventures and dreams have mostly been put on hold, with big family holidays, moves and decisions paused. With Easter around the corner, the government is loosening restrictions, allowing households to meet outside and in private gardens and restaurants and pubs back on the menu from April 12th. For families, the micro spaces they’ve been inhabiting for the past couple of months look set to expand significantly.

So, what does this shift mean for families and what are they looking forward to? Many outlets are predicting a summer of fun and socialising, with Matt Hancock talking about a ‘a happy and free’ summer, despite social distancing fears.  Festivals like Reading and Leeds have sold out and even major sporting events are set to go ahead (at reduced capacity). To all intents and purposes, it looks like families might be looking forward to ‘going big’ this summer once all restrictions are lifted.

Families are celebrating Easter in small ways this year…

However, families are not looking to re-enter the big wide world just yet. In fact, it’s the opposite. For families right now it’s the small things that count the most. Instead of going on adventurous holidays, hosting big family BBQs and attending mass events, families are looking forward to simply spending time together with their nearest and dearest.  Less than a third of families said they would be meeting with wider family members outside during the Easter period, despite restrictions being lifted, and even less (21%) were planning on seeing friends. Despite restrictions and travel around the UK easing before Easter, less than a fifth are planning on leaving their local area.

This is different to last year, where going to the beach (40%), booking holidays (28%) and having activity days (25%) were at the top of family’s post-lockdown to do lists. It seems that this year families are taking a more gradual approach when it comes to engaging with the outside world.

In fact, Easter this year looks to be a household only affair, with parents planning on spending quality time with their children. 44% are planning on cooking and baking together as a family, with a third of parents organising an Easter Egg hunt for their children and over a quarter planning on an Easter Sunday walk.  Even though some restrictions have been lifted, it seems that families are reluctant to risk leaving their household bubble, at least for the moment.

Easter spending is concentrated around indoor activities…

This cautious approach to socialising also reflects how families are looking to spend during the Easter school holidays. Instead of investing in outdoor games and sports equipment or more ‘adventurous’ experiences, families are hunkering down and investing in products that keep their kids stimulated whilst remaining indoors. A third of parents have purchased books and arts and crafts supplies to keep their kids busy throughout the holidays. A further 27% have decided to invest in an entertainment subscription package to keep their kids busy.

Overall, it seems that families aren’t quite ready to open themselves up to the world just yet. Looking forward, if covid restrictions continue to be eased and a higher proportion of the population become vaccinated, families will likely begin to engage in more outward looking activities and purchases. But it is important for brands to note that right now families’ primary focus is their household, with many not planning on socialising or travelling too far outside of their ‘bubble’ just yet.

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