Mother’s Day and Father’s Day represent peak spending periods in U.S. retail. In fact, Mother’s Day is the third biggest retail holiday with Father’s Day falling close behind.
Mother’s Day spending this year was expected to reach $21.2 billion, and experts are projecting Father’s Day spending to hit $12.5 billion. That’s a lot of gifts for Mom and Dad. The Retail Equation explores the impact Mother’s Day and Father’s Day spending has on retail sales and return rate.
We Love to Buy Mom Jewelry, and We Love to Buy Dad Watches
TRE leveraged its statistical data gathered from 27,000 retail stores throughout the United States to compare typical sales to those two weeks prior to Mother’s Day and Father’s Day and determine the top five gifts for Mom and Dad. The top five categories for Mom include:
- Jewelry (In fact, jewelry sales increase by 116 percent during the two weeks leading up to Mother’s Day)
- Health and Beauty Products
% of Sales Increase for the Two Weeks before Mother’s Day vs. Average Sales
Top five gifts for Dad are:
- Watches (Sales increased 114 percent the two weeks prior to the holiday)
- Greeting Cards and Giftwrap
- Health and Beauty Aids
% of Sales Increase for the Two Weeks before Father’s Day vs. Average Sales
By looking at the data side by side, it can be determined that:
- We buy Jewelry for Mom and watches for Dad;
- We tend to send greeting cards to Mom and far less for Dad;
- We buy some health and beauty products for both and;
- We tend to buy Dad more clothes than for Mom.
The tables below show the daily sales volumes for items in the jewelry, greeting cards, and health and beauty products for Mother’s Day and apparel, jewelry, and watches for Father’s Day. In both tables, the peaks can clearly be seen for three weeks prior to the holiday, dropping rapidly afterwards.
Daily Sales Preceding and Following Mother’s Day
Daily Sales Preceding and Following Father’s Day
Mom and Dad Don’t Always Love What We Buy Them
The highest sales are not translated into the highest profits, since the top sale categories also have the highest return rate increases following Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. The jewelry return rate almost doubles in the period immediately following Mother’s Day. It changes from a 12.7 percent return rate to a whopping 24 percent return rate; meaning for every $100 in jewelry items purchased for Mother’s Day, $24 was returned. For Father’s Day the apparel return rate more than doubles from 10 percent to 22.7 percent and the watch items’ return rate almost doubles from 16.6 percent to 34 percent.
Top five categories having the highest return rate increases following Mother’s Day
Top five categories having the highest return rate increases following Father’s Day
If we compare those top five return rate increasing categories from Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, we see something else that is interesting: Dad tends to return our gifts even more than Mom. Men’s apparel return rate is up 127 percent and watches are up 105 percent while Mom’s jewelry is up 89 percent and watches are up only 47 percent. Is it because our Dads are pickier or maybe we just don’t know what to buy them?
We Know What Not to Buy for Mom and Dad
On the other side of the coin are the items least shopped for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. The top three categories in both holidays are home improvement, recreational items, and home furnishings. The following provide more details.
% of Sales Decrease for the Two Weeks before Mother’s Day vs. Average Sales
% of Sales Decrease for the Two Weeks before Father’s Day vs. Average Sales
Not surprisingly, these items also have lower return rates following Mother’s Day and Father’s Day.
There’s Always Next Year
It is clear love for Mom and Dad abounds. Families spent a lot of money on gifts, and we have a pretty good idea of what he or she wants given the amount of money spent in very specific product categories. However, we may never get it exactly right. Moms and Dads like to make a lot of returns. But the good news is: It’s the thought that counts. And there’s always next year to make their day.