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Mother’s Day 2021 Takes on Special Significance After the COVID Year

This year’s Mother’s Day will be one for the record books
Monika Kochhar
Monika Kochhar

The gifting market experienced dynamic growth in 2020, reaching an estimated $250 billion last year in the United States. With consumers in lockdown, people turned to sending gifts to bridge the social-distance gap. “Just thinking of you” gifts became a favorite way to let friends, loved ones, co-workers, employees, and other important people in our lives know we care. Not only were people showered with more gifts this past year, but those gifts were more emotionally evocative as well.

Sunday, May 9th is Mother’s Day this year. Traditionally Mother’s Day is the second most gifted holiday after Christmas. While cards and flowers are the typical Mother’s Day choices, gift-givers are likely to go bigger this year, with more indulgent and extravagant remembrances for the nation’s nearly 50 million mothers. Gifters will be looking across more categories for gift selections that communicate their “I care” message.

The National Retail Federation expects gifters to increase their average spending from $205 in 2020 to $221 this year, an 8% increase. More significantly, consumers aged 25-34 years old will spend on average $367, or $99 more than last year.  The NRF predicts the overall Mother’s Day gift market to reach $28.1 billion, but it could be even bigger than that.

Here are five reasons why:

#1: Many more mother figures in people’s lives

After the disruption from the pandemic, people won’t just be remembering their mothers and grandmothers this year, but all the mother figures who have played an important role in their lives throughout: friends and mentors they leaned on for advice; teachers and caregivers who helped them and their families; coworkers they missed; neighbors and other women who stepped in to help. And gift-givers will be picking different kinds of gifts for each of these different ‘mothers.’

#2: Online destination central for Mother’s Day gifts

Like Mother’s Day 2020, the first official gifting holiday to hit after Covid lockdowns, gifters will make online their destination of choice for gift selections. Last year, our digitally powered gifting network saw a staggering 667 percent year-over-year increase in gift-giving for Mother’s Day. While we don’t expect quite that big a jump this year, we are anticipating another triple-digit increase.

Online gifting will get an extra bump this year by being able to serve last-minute gifters. Virtual gift services such as ours, which support some of the nation’s most prominently gifted brands—1-800-FLOWERS, Pandora, Kendra Scott and Bobbi Brown, and many others—can deliver gifts via text, email or another preferred communication channel even on Sunday, May 9th—a way for gifters not to have to shop days ahead to allow for shipping.

#3:  Businesses remembering all the working moms

About 70% of mothers with children under 18 work, and these heroes—who’ve juggled work, child care and virtual schooling throughout the year—will be recognized by more businesses this year.

For example, one digital technology firm sent 1,000 Mother’s Day gifts to their female employees in a way that allowed each recipient the choice of keeping the gift for herself or passing it along to the ‘mother’ of her choice—thus initiating a new form of regifting. 

#4:  Stimulus check bounce

Mother’s Day 2021 will get an extra bounce this year thanks to the government stimulus checks that recently went out. Retail sales grew an unprecendented 10% in March, and retail spending is predicted to carry on its upward trajectory through April and May.

#5:  Moms mean more

Throughout human history, wounded soldiers are said to cry out first for their mothers on the battlefield. Mom is the one who gave them life, raised them and loved them unconditionally throughout their growing up. Whether or not these reports are true, mothers hold a special place in everyone’s heart. The spiritual umbilical cord between a mother and her child is never broken.  

First made official by President Woodrow Wilson in 1914, Mother’s Day honors that unbreakable bond, conceived as a day to recognize the sacrifices mothers make for their children. It has since been extended to the role of mothers in peacekeeping and reconciliation. Given the deep ties between mother and child, Mother’s Day gifting has special significance in the rolling calendar of holiday celebrations. Even more so after the stresses and strains put on all of us throughout the Covid pandemic.

This all adds up to why I believe Mother’s Day 2021 will be one for the record books—not just in dollars spent, but in profound messages of love and caring shared with a singularly important and meaningful person in one’s life: one’s mother.

Monika Kochhar is CEO and co-founder of SmartGift, a state-of-the-art platform for gifting, corporate incentives and rewards. She can be reached at [email protected].

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