Anxious for the spring sunshine, consumers will be welcoming the Easter Bunny with open arms this year, but they'll be spending slightly less than last year to celebrate.

(Sherry Camp, ThinkStock)

The average American celebrating the holiday will spend an average of $137.46 on Easter this year, according to the National Retail Federation's Easter Spending Survey, which is slightly less than the $145.13 spent last year. Total spending is expected to reach $15.9 billion.

"The winter doldrums left consumers with a lot of pent-up demand, and though many Americans may take a cautious approach to spending on Easter items this year, retailers are anticipating that warmer weather will easily put consumers in the mood to buy bright clothes, holiday decorations and more," said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay, in a press release. "As one of the biggest holidays of the year, retailers are looking forward to increased customer traffic in stores and online, and will roll out promotions on everything from garden supplies and patio sets to apparel and grocery items as they help their customers prepare for the holiday."

Fewer people will be celebrating the holiday this year, 80.3 percent vs. 83 percent last year, but families will still be looking forward to their traditional Sunday meals.  Those who plan to celebrate will spend the most on a grocery bill for a family dinner or Sunday brunch out.  "Easter is a very big food holiday.  But, in addition to the family meal or going out to brunch, a lot of people use it as a good time to buy spring apparel," said Kathy Grannis, NRF spokesperson.  "A big part of Easter is also candy sales, so specialty retailers, discount chains and grocery stores will make sure they have plenty of candy available and decorations as well."

According to the survey, 42.9 percent will buy new spring attire and will spend an average of $22.71.  Total spending on apparel is expected to reach $2.6 billion.  In addition, nine in 10 of those celebrating will stock up on Easter candy, spending a total of $2.2 billion on their children's favorite treats.  Families will also spend $2.4 billion on gifts, $1.1 billion on flowers and $1.1 billion on decorations.