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NRF says mom’s in for a treat, while IBISWorld says not so much


Moms are in for a special treat this Mother’s Day, May 12, according to a survey conducted by the National Retail Federation, but another survey conducted by IBISWorld has found that Mother’s Day spending growth will be flat this year compared to last year.

NRF’s Mother’s Day spending survey conducted by BIGinsight has found consumers will spend an average of $169 on mom, up 11% from last year’s $153. Total spending is expected to reach $21 billion.

“It’s clear that Americans this year want to honor the woman with the hardest job in the world with unique and special gifts this Mother’s Day,” said NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay. "After a long winter that kept many from splurging on any new spring merchandise, retailers are looking forward to opening their doors and surprising shoppers with promotions that are perfect for any gardener, host, fashionista or tech-savvy mom.”

While traditional gifts such as flowers, apparel and gift cards will still be popular, many consumers will stretch their budget a little further this year and treat mom to tablets, smartphones or sparkly necklaces. The survey found 14% — the highest in the survey’s history — of shoppers this Mother’s Day will spend more than $2.3 billion on electronics, up from $1.6 billion last year, and more than one-third of gift givers will buy jewelry, spending a total of $4.2 billion, up from $3.7 billion last year.

Additionally, gift givers will splurge on special outings, such as brunch or dinner ($4 billion), flowers ($2 billion), gift cards ($2 billion), clothing or clothing accessories ($2 billion) and personal service gifts, such as a day at the spa ($2 billion).

When it comes to where people will shop, the survey found 34% of gift buyers will shop at a department store. Other shoppers will head to discount stores (29%), specialty stores including jewelers, florists and electronics stores (37%) and specialty clothing stores (9%). Nearly 29% of Americans will buy their gifts online, up from 26% last year and the highest in the survey’s 10-year history.

In addition to celebrating mom, Americans will buy Mother’s Day gifts for other women in their lives, including their wives (24%), daughters (11%), grandmothers (9%) and sisters (8%). However, most will buy for their mothers or stepmothers (65%).

“Budgetary constraints will keep many families on the lookout for the perfect group gift, like a new tablet or smartphone, or even that cashmere sweater they know mom has had her eye on,” said BIGinsight consumer insights director Pam Goodfellow. “This year, there’s no question mom will blush over the outpouring of admiration her family and friends want to bestow upon her.”

Meanwhile, market research firm IBISWorld found that growth in spending on Mother’s Day will be nearly flat this year as more Americans return to work and have less spare time.

The report forecast a 0.2% rise in purchases on Mother's Day gifts this year over last year, for a total of $17.1 billion.

Growth is expected to be strongest in easy-to-purchase items like flowers and gift certificates, which will grow by 3.9% and 2.2%, to $2.6 billion and $1.8 billion, respectively. Greeting cards will see a 5.3% decline, from last year's $750 million to $710 million this year, while housewares and gardening items will decline by 3.5%, from last year's $690 million to $660 million this year.

But overall Mother's Day spending growth this year represents a huge drop from last year, which saw a 6.5% increase over 2011 as more Americans had disposable per capita income. The decline in greeting cards is due to a shift among consumers to e-cards, email and social networks.

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