Consumers buying jewelry, personal services this Mother’s Day

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Nearly half of consumers under the age of 35 are planning to give the gift of an experience.

Consumers are projected to spend a record-high amount this Mother’s Day, with sales reaching $23.6 billion, according to the National Retail Federation’s (NRF) annual survey conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics. 

On average, a consumer will spend more than $186 on the holiday, up from $172 last year. And it’s an opportunity that won’t be missed, as 85% of those surveyed said they would celebrate the holiday with gifts and outings. 

"The economy is currently in a really good place, unemployment is low, wages are higher than in the past and consumer sentiment is high. With all of these elements aligned, we are seeing the consumer willing to spend more, which is forecasted in our Mother's Day spending survey," a spokesperson from NRF told FierceRetail. 

The big increase from last year's Mother's Day is largely driven by the jewelry category, which is up 19%, and personal services, up 15%. 

“With spring in full bloom, many Americans are looking forward to splurging on their mothers,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “Retailers will be ready with a wide range of gift options and a variety of promotions for their customers."

The most money, $5 billion, will be spent on jewelry, purchased by 36% of shoppers, followed by special outings for 56% of consumers, amounting to $4.2 billion. Ever-popular flowers will amount to $2.6 billion (69%), gift cards will reach $2.5 billion (45%), clothing will amount to $2.1 billion (37%), personal electronics will reach $2 billion (15%) and personal services will amount to $1.9 billion (24%). 

Older millennials, those ages 25 to 34, are expected to spend the most on their mothers and nearly half of consumers under the age of 35 are planning to give the gift of an experience. 

Where will consumers shop? More than one-third (35%) will go to department stores and 31% will shop at specialty stores. Another 24% plan to shop at a small local business. Meanwhile, 30% will shop online, up from 27% last year, and 34% will research gift ideas on their phones with 19% actually purchasing on this device. 

Although the top choice for department stores may seem odd considering the current climate for these shopping centers, they are actually the No. 1 choice for consumers to shop on special occasions such as Valentine's Day, Easter and Mother's Day. 

"Department stores allow consumers that are shopping for big ticket items such as jewelry to touch it, see it and decide if that item makes sense for their loved ones—which is something that online does not provide for customers," the spokesperson added.

Although the NRF can't speculate on the future without data, there has been a trend on the last few surveys that consumers are willing to stretch their budgets a bit more to spend on their loved ones. "Therefore, chances are high that we could potentially see strong numbers for graduations and Father's Day," said the spokesperson.