Father’s Day spending estimated to hit $20.1 billion

by Kim Souza ([email protected]) 616 views 

With COVID-19 cases falling amid more vaccinations among U.S. adults, a growing number of families are planning to get together for summer events like Father’s Day, according to recent surveys by the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights.

The National Retail Federation estimated consumers will spend more than $20.1 billion on gifts and other items for Father’s Day, slated for Sunday, June 20. The trade group said the estimate surpasses last year’s record $17 billion. About 75% said they plan to celebrate the fathers, husbands and other parental figures in their life this coming weekend. Of those celebrating, half said they plan to buy gifts for their own dad, 26% said they will buy for a husband, and 1 in 10 will buy a gift for a son.

Survey respondents indicated they plan to spend an average of $174 on Father’s Day items, or $26 more than last year and a record high for the survey. About half (47%) of the increase comes from spending more on special outings, clothing and consumer electronics.

“Americans are looking forward to celebrating their fathers, husbands and sons this Father’s Day,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “With our nation now making significant strides toward recovery and reopening, retailers are prepared to help customers safely find items they want and need to make this year’s holiday celebration extra meaningful.”

Respondents ages 35-to-44 (Millennials) will be this year’s biggest holiday spenders. They plan to spend an average of $259 on Father’s Day gifts, which is $49 more than last year. The top gifts that shoppers plan to purchase for Father’s Day are greeting cards (59%), clothing (49%), a special outing such as dinner or brunch (46%), gift cards (45%), and personal care items (28%).

One telling sign the economy is rebounding quickly is the number of consumers planning a special outing is back up to pre-pandemic levels, according to the trade group.

“Consumers are showing they are comfortable with pre-pandemic behaviors and activities, particularly as we head into the summer season,” Prosper Vice President of Strategy Phil Rist said. “Many are planning to take Dad out for a special meal or experience this Father’s Day, which wasn’t an option last year during the shutdowns.”

Father’s Day spending has risen sharply in the past four years. In 2017, total spending was $15.5 billion, falling to $15.3 billion in 2018 and rebounding to $16 billion in 2019. The spending growth between 2020 and 2021 is projected at 18.23%, or $3.1 billion, according to the NRF.

Another survey by RetailMeNot found consumers are planning on spending an average of $107 for Father’s Day this year. While less than the NRF survey, spending intentions are up 16% from the $89 average reported a year ago. The RetailMeNot survey also pegs Millennials as the biggest spenders for the holiday with an average of $135 per person. This is 52% higher than the overall spend from 2020.

RetailMeNot also found 38% of consumers will purchase gift cards compared to 40% last year. Nearly one in three plans on buying food for a family gathering at home, up from 27% last year. Just one in five intend to dine at a nice restaurant, down from 32% a year ago.

The top two gifts fathers surveyed said they want this year remains unchanged. More than one-third (37%) said they want to spend the day with family, which was also the top answer in 2020. Next, 26% of fathers said they would like a nice dinner, also the second most popular answer in 2020.