Consumers are planning for Easter with renewed enthusiasm if sales of chocolate eggs and hot cross buns are anything to go by.

British households had already spent £37 million on hot cross buns and £153 million on eggs by March 21, £48 million more than at two weeks prior to Easter last year, figures from analysts Kantar show.

Eggs and other Easter chocolates on display (Andrew Beer/PA)

Last year’s lockdown put a stop to family get-togethers and Easter egg hunts, but this Easter weekend will bring reunions with friends and family for many people and preparations appear to be firmly under way.

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Some 61% of people are looking forward to socialising with friends again and 23% of households plan to dust off the barbecue, weather permitting, Kantar found.

Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar, said: “This time last year, Brits were adjusting to schools and offices closing and making extra trips to the supermarket to fill their cupboards for lockdown.

“Warmer temperatures and lighter evenings mean many of us are planning outdoor get togethers over the long weekend.

“There are signs of people making a special, even symbolic, effort this year and grandparents might be showing up with additional treats after 12 months of restrictions.”

The figures follow Marks & Spencer reporting it had seen sales of Easter products rocket by 3000% on last year.

Research from Sainsbury’s last week suggested three out of five people plan to host Easter lunch outside, while four out of five said wet weather would not stop them going ahead with their outdoor plans.

Worldpanel Plus surveyed 68,678 consumers for Kantar between March 4 and 10.