U.S. spending for Mother’s Day predicted to rise to $21.2 billion

by The City Wire staff ([email protected]) 65 views 

Retailers are poised to profit handsomely in the coming days as consumers are expected to dole out $21.2 billion for dear Mom and the national holiday in her honor slated for May 10.

American families are expected to spend an average of $172.63 on mom this year, which is up almost $10 from spending last year, according to the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics 2015 survey. This year’s spending estimates are the highest recorded in the survey’s 12-year history.

“We’re encouraged by the positive shift we’ve seen in spending on discretionary and gift items from consumers so far this year, certainly boding well for retailers across all spectrums who are planning to promote Mother’s Day specials, including home improvement, jewelry, apparel and other specialty retailers as well as restaurants,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said in a report. 

The report also shows increased spending intentions are even between those earning less than $50,000 annually and those earning more. About 17.8% of respondents earning less than $50,000 annually said they will spend more this year, compared to 17.5% of those respondents earning more.

Younger millennials (ages 18 to 24) are the largest cohort (43.7%) intending to spend more on mom this year. Older millennials (ages 25 to 33) were the second largest cohort (31.9%) with higher spending plans.

The majority of consumers (80%) will pick up a greeting card for mom this year which is expected to total $786 million. Discounters like Wal-Mart, Dollar General and Target will get a lion’s share of the greeting card sales which are why these retailers prominently display the cards near the front door this time of year.

Flowers are another favorite gift for Mother’s Day as 67.2% of consumers will spend $2.4 billion on flower bouquets this year. National grocers like Kroger and Aldi as well as regional players like Harp’s are promoting Mother’s Day gifts near their front doors with colorful potted plants such as tulips, roses, hibiscus and lilies. Wal-Mart, Lowe’s, Home Depot and other big box retailers are also hawking lower prices on annuals and perennials just in time for Mother’s Day. This competitive category is expected to take a toll on traditional florists as the survey respondents did not mention florists as a place they will shop for Mother’s Day.

Department stores are hoping to cash in as 36% of shoppers also plan on gifting apparel and clothing items to the tune of $1.9 billion, up from $1.7 billion last year. Jewelry stores are also poised to benefit from bigger spending this year. The survey found one in three consumers will purchase jewelry for their mom for a cumulative spend of $4.3 billion, this is up from $3.6 billion last year.

Another special way to treat mom is to take her out to lunch, which is what half of consumers plan to do this Mother’s Day. The survey indicates families will spend $3.8 billion on a special brunch or similar activities.

Consumers also want to help their moms with new electronics with plans to spend $1.8 billion on items like smartphones, tablets and e-readers. Spa days and personal services are also favorite gifts for about one in five respondents who will spend $1.5 billion this year, according to the survey.

An informal survey by The City Wire found most mom’s are happy just to spend time with their kids saying that’s gift enough.

“Time with my kids is far more precious than any gift. They usually take me out to lunch and give me a gift card which they know I like,” said Peggy Knight of Rogers. Kathleen Campanirio of Port Charlotte, Fla, agreed, saying that seeing her two sons which live in Massachusetts is the “best present” she can hope for.

Clint Lazenby, a retail expert with #GetOnShelf in Bentonville, said Mother’s Day spending is not just a U.S. tradition. 

“In many parts of Latin America more money is spent on Mother's Day than Christmas,” Lazenby said.

Experts say there are no set rules around the holiday.

“Mother’s Day is extremely unique and personal for millions of consumers, and families this year will look for different ways to enjoy their time with mom,” said Prosper’s 
Principal Analyst Pam Goodfellow. “While some will splurge, others will search high and low for the perfect, practical gift, knowing that she likes any gift that comes from the heart.”

Lana Flowers of Rogers, already received a wonderful gift from her daughter Lauren last week — $50,000 in annual scholarships to the University of Denver. While technically the gift was earned by her daughter Flowers said, “Now I can sleep instead of lying awake worrying about paying for college.”