Mother's Day 2015 is upping the ante on gift-giving

Mother's Day is a unique day for retailers in that it focuses all of the gift-giving on one special person within a specific demographic: mothers.

Husbands, children, step-children and even friends seem to join in on the spending, and not only for physical gifts. Mom-focused consumers are also spending on activities ranging from brunch to vacations, all in efforts to make mom feel special. So while some consumers may pull back on the purse strings on other holidays, this Sunday will be one of the exceptions.

On average, shoppers will spend $193 this year for Mother's Day, up five percent from 2014.  

"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," said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay. 

Spending is expected to reach almost $20 billion in total, according to the annual Brand Key's Mother's Day survey. Last year's Mother's Day spending was estimated to be around $18.1 billion, half of which was spent on jewlery. Men will outspend women, on average spending $215 for that special lady in their life.

Brand Keys reports that traditional gifts will retain their standing with consumers, outpacing tech. Consumers expressed an intent to purchase gifts including cards, meals (brunch or dinner), flowers, spa services, jewelry and clothing.

What will be the most common purchase? A greeting card, with 95 percent of those surveyed expressing interest, followed by a meal, 88 percent, and flowers, 86 percent. Clothing, 70 percent, and gift cards and jewelry, 52 percent, were also popular gift choices.

And where will consumers shop for Mother's Day gifts? Discount stores accounted for 55 percent of consumer preference; specialty stores, 50 percent; and department stores, 50 percent. Thirty percent of shoppers will purchase online.

RetailMeNot reported that 88 percent of consumers will give a gift on Mother's Day, and 34 percent of shoppers with both a mother and a father will spend more on a gift for mom than what they will spend next month on dad.

Although flowers are always popular, they may not be what mom actually wants. According to RetailMeNot's survey, 27 percent of moms reported wanting a gift card and 13 percent said they want to go out and be pampered.

According to Allan Haims, CEO of in-mall retail solution StepsAway, Mother's Day is unique in that, unlike most other retail holidays, the focus on just one person. On Christmas, a consumer may shop for multiple people spanning various demographics, but on Mother's Day all focus is on one person, comprising a very specific demographic.

Mother's Day is deemed the "ultimate Hallmark holiday," because gifts are usually very personal.

Conforming to the overarching trends in 2015, Haims expects more omnichannel promotions, which will drive consumers from digital platforms to making in-store purchases. While in-store will continue to remain important, mobile is growing—especially for men, who are managing the bulk of Mother's Day shopping.

"As consumers' mobile reliance continues to grow, retailers should look for ways to connect with shoppers via mobile, whether that means offering unique deals or a simpler checkout process," Haims said.

And according to a study by Criteo, mobile will be nothing to scoff at. Looking at 120 million online transactions conducted via desktop, smartphones and tablets with more than 500 U.S. retailers, Criteo found that one in three Mother's Day purchases in 2015 will be conducted on a mobile device.

Criteo also looked into when gifts would be purchased for Mother's Day and found that the week before is paramount—flowers and gift sales are typically up 950 percent in the week leading up to the big day.

What advice does Haim have to offer retailers? First, since many men are doing the shopping, retailers should include add-ons or extras such as gift wrapping—a task many men don't want to take on themselves.

And finally, "with consumers in ready-to-buy mode and competition from other retailers running high, this isn't the time to put all your eggs in one basket," Haims added. 

Related stories:
Consumers to spend $10 more on Mother's Day than in 2014
60% of shoppers increasingly shopping online
Survey says shoppers want more personal, but less personalization
Mother's Day spending to top $18B, most will shop online
Digital influences $1 trillion in retail sales