Mother’s Day spending to top $28 billion

May 10-16, 2021

By the Daily Record staff


If the value of mothers could be captured, their stock would certainly be on the rise amid the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the highly watched annual survey on Mother’s Day spending this past Sunday (May 9). Still, once Mother’s Day is over, many women will find they do not have the same value in the workplace, another study notes.


This year, the National Retail Federation survey shows that Mother’s Day spending was expected to reach a record $28.1 billion, up $1.4 billion from 2020. Nearly 83% of U.S. adults are expected to celebrate the annual holiday.


“There is a lot of consumer optimism around Mother’s Day this year as more people are getting vaccinated and stimulus checks are being distributed,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “For many, this is a chance to make up for last year’s Mother’s Day when we were under lockdown. With safety guidelines at top of mind, consumers are planning to be with family, are making travel plans and organizing a special brunch or outing. All of these activities will be reflected through their purchasing decisions.”


This year consumers plan were expected to spend an average of $220.48 on Mother’s Day items. This figure is $16 more than they planned to spend last year and the highest in the survey’s history.


Record spending on gifts of jewelry and electronics are the primary drivers of the increase. Jewelry accounts for over half (59%) of the $1.4 billion increase in spending while electronics accounts for over one-quarter (28%).


Consumers ages 25-34 are also contributing to the increase in Mother’s Day spending. These shoppers plan to spend $367.08 on average or $99 more than last year. These shoppers are also the most likely to be planning gifts of higher dollar items like jewelry or electronics. In addition to buying gifts for their own moms, these shoppers are more likely to be buying for spouses and other recipients like grandmothers or friends.


This year, nearly half (49%) say they are planning a special Mother’s Day outing such as a brunch or other activity. While this is up slightly from last year, it is still below pre-pandemic levels.


“Even though consumers have indicated a growing comfort with pre-pandemic activities such as travel or dining out, there is still a lot of uncertainty,” Prosper Vice President of Strategy Phil Rist said. “As we’ve seen with other holiday events, a large majority (82%) say that as a result of the pandemic, celebrating Mother’s Day this year is important to them.”


NRF’s 2020 Mother’s Day consumer survey occurred during the height of the government-mandated shutdowns. This year over one-third (34%) plan to purchase their Mother’s Day gifts online, down from 2020 when shoppers were dealing with mandated shutdowns, but still above pre-pandemic levels. In addition to ordering items online this year, consumers also plan to shop at department stores (28%), specialty stores like florists or jewelers (26%) and small businesses (23%).


The 2021 survey of 7,818 U.S. adults 18 and older was conducted April 1-9 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.1 percentage points. NRF, which represents online and brick-and-mortar retailers of all sizes and categories from Walmart and Amazon to local main street merchants, is the nation’s retail trade association.


Headquartered in Washington, D.C., NRF said its members in the retail sector contribute $3.9 trillion to annual real gross domestic product (GDP) growth in the U.S, supporting one in four U.S. jobs — 52 million working Americans.