Father’s Day Spending Statistics, Trends, and Fun Facts (US & UK)

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Lea Kuscer
24 February, 2024 • Updated 23 days ago

Father’s Day is a popular shopping day in both the United States and the United Kingdom honoring both fathers and stepfathers alike.

On average 75% of men in both the United States and the United Kingdom plan to celebrate Father’s Day in some manner this year.

The total spending on Father’s Day in the United States in 2020 was $17 billion, with the average American planning to spend $148.58 per person. However, it accounts for only about half the spending on Mother’s Day which was over $26 billion in 2020.

History of Father’s Day

It took almost half a century for Father’s Day to turn into a national holiday in the U.S. from being a Catholic celebration in Europe.

The first celebrations started in 1508 and have basis in the Southern European tradition where the members of the Catholic church celebrated the feast day of Saint Joseph.

Today, Father’s Day is celebrated throughout the Catholic countries in Europe every day in March 19.

In the U.S., first Father’s Day service took place in West Virginia on July 5, 1908.  It was organized to commemorate the worst mining accident in the U.S., where hundreds of men lost their lives.

A few years later, Sonora Smart Dodd of Spokane, Washington proposed to the Spokane Ministerial Association and the YMCA to celebrate Father’s Day in the city. They decided the event would take place every third Sunday in June.

It wasn’t until 1972 when the “Congress passed an act officially making Father’s Day a national holiday.” From then on, most countries in the world are celebrating the holiday third Sunday in June each year.

Let’s take a look at the numbers revolving around this somewhat obscure holiday that has been celebrated since the Middle Ages.

While people spend less on Father’s Day than on Mother’s Day, the number of those celebrating was increasing for the past few years.

Last year and this year are an exception since the pandemic changed the way we celebrate holidays and spend our money.

Still, many people will celebrate Father’s Day with their fathers, stepfathers, sons, and husbands this year.

Let’s see what the Father’s Day spending and celebrating trends looked like in 2020.

In 2020 in the UK,

  • 38% of people was planning to spend Father’s Day on a Zoom call or on Facetime with their fathers or stepfathers, according to Money’s report.
  • 26% were to be wishing a good Father’s Day from afar, according to the same study.
  • 19% were planning to take advantage of outdoor spaces to enjoy a meal or a BBQ in the garden, according to the same study.
  • 45% of consumers who bought gifts for 2020 Father’s Day, chose to do so online, according to Market Research’s Retail Occassion Series report.

Spending trends changed as well. Spending on a gift for Father’s Day dropped by a third compared to 2019, down from £31 to £20, according to Money’s report.

There was an increased spend on food and drinks and people avoided shopping centres, retail parks and department stores, according to Market Research’s Retail Occassion Series report.

In the U.S.,

  • the average expected spending in 2020 was $148.58, according to National Retail Federation.
  • 75% of people in the U.S. planned to celebrate Father’s Day in 2020, according to the same study.
  • Of those celebrating, 59% of people spent their money on greeting cards, 46% of them spent their money to buy clothes to their fathers, stepfathers or husbands, while 44% of them spent their money on gift cards, according to the same study.
  • 41% of those buying gifts wanted to find a gift that was unique or different, according to the same study.

Father’s Day Gifts Spend by Demographics

The younger adults tend to have the highest spending rates on holiday gifts and gifts are most commonly bought for a father or stepfather.

  • 90% of 18-24-year-olds planned to celebrate Father’s Day in 2020, according to the National Retail Federation.
  • 89% of 25-34-year-olds planned to celebrate it as well, while 85% of 35-44-year-olds planned to do the same.
  • 53% of 18-24-year-olds wanted to buy a gift for Father’s Day that unique or different, while 47% of people in this demographic group wanted to buy a gift for Father’s Day that creates a special memory in 2020, according to the same study.
  • Likewise, 50% of 25-34-year-olds wanted to buy a gift for Father’s Day that unique or different, while 34% of them wanted to buy a gift for Father’s Day that creates a special memory, according to the same study.

While the rise in age accounts for a lower overall average spend, who the survey respondents buy for is a wide list though a disproportionate one.

Where Are People Spending Father’s Day

When it comes to spending for dads, small businesses and department stores probably won’t reap the benefits they enjoyed in the last years since a lot of people won’t even be able to see their dads or stepdads due to the pandemic. However, let’s see what people were planning to do with their dads last Father’s Day.

Here’s how people spent Father’s Day in the UK in 2020.

  • 32% of them planned to attend/watch sport (either on TV or live)
  • 24% of them planned to watch TV
  • 20% planned to do some gardening or DIY projects
  • 10% planned to cook with their fathers or stepfathers
  • 9% planned to do some shopping
  • 9% planned to do fitness, according to Money’s report.

In the US, common activities during Father’s Day include: “taking Dad for a meal out writing Father’s Day cards that express the full extent of one’s love and gratitude taking time to join him in activities he likes.”

How Has Online Shopping Affected Father’s Day Spending?

With online retailers trying to gain most of the holiday market, spending on online marketing has increased in the past decade. However, the pandemic has ruined everyone’s plans and many stores missed out on a big portion of the potential Father’s Day earnings, which reached $17 billion in 2020 in the US alone.

Fun Facts You May Not Know About Father’s Day

Father’s Day has been around since the early 19th century when Sonora Dodd, the daughter of a Civil war veteran, pushed to have Fathers represented with a day the same way mothers had been honored.

Sonora and her five siblings were cared for by their father after the death of their mother. Since then, the holiday has continued to grow with gifts and outings each year in June set to honor a father’s role in their children’s lives.

Below are some other fun facts you may or may not know about the popular shopping holiday.

  • Father’s Day was assigned as an official holiday by Nixon in 1972.
  • Father’s Day is the fourth-largest card-sending holiday in the United States, with 72 million cards exchanged annually, according to Hallmark.
  • The most popularly purchased gift for Father’s Day is neckties, according to the Shelf.
  • Father’s Day is the busiest day for collect phone calls, according to Punch Bowl.
  • Female shoppers will spend 50% more on gifts for their dad than their male counterparts, according to ContactPigeon.


Even though Father’s Day still only accounts for about half the spending that the Mother’s Day holiday garners retailers, Father’s Day spending is continuing to rise.

With more and more emphasis on the sacrifice fathers make to support their families and a change in the family dynamic with more fathers becoming caregivers in the home either as stay-at-home dads, single fathers, or partners in a two-working-parent family, Father’s Day is becoming more on the level as the Mother’s Day holiday has become.

As the family structure begins to change and a father’s role in the family becomes more appreciated the holiday could soon see its place alongside Mother’s Day as one of the most popular celebratory and gift-giving days in the world.

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Written by
Lea Kuscer
Lea Kuscer is a nature admirer, ecological cosmetics and jewelry maker, avid traveler, language professor by trade, but above all, a marketing maniac who's enthusiastic about testing new products. Her mission is to share her passion with gadget lovers and those who would like to make their life more comfortable with the best products on the market. Let's get on an exploring adventure together!
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