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Mother’s Day spending to hit record high; here’s what’s driving it

Americans — particularly those ages 25 to 34 — are upping their spending for Mother’s Day by a significant amount. 

Mother’s Day spending is expected to total a record $28.1 billion this year, up $1.4 billion from 2020, according to the annual survey by the National Retail Federation. Approximately 83% of U.S. adults are expected to celebrate the annual holiday.

Consumers plan 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 jewelry and electronics are the primary drivers of the increase. Jewelry accounts 59% of the $1.4 billion increase in spending while electronics accounts for 28%.

Consumers ages 25 to 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, and they 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.

NRF’s 2020 Mother’s Day consumer survey occurred during the height of the government-mandated shutdowns. This year, 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%).

In other findings, 49% of consumers said 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 VP 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.”

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