With an expected spend of over $26 billion on this annual tribute to mothers in the US alone, retailers often plan a long ramp up every year.
Mother’s Day is one of only a handful of holidays that is celebrated internationally and is one of the largest spending seasons at any time of the year.
Shoppers buy for their mothers and stepmothers, but almost a half of them is buying for grandmothers, sisters, friends and even daughters — effectively expanding the reach of the holiday.
See how trends are mirrored or different across the US and UK for Mother’s Day 2021.
History Of Mother’s Day
Honoring the mothers in our lives is a relatively new event, starting only around the turn of the 20th century. However, there were inklings of the event that began as far back as the Civil War, when Ann Reeves Jarvis of West Virginia created work clubs that were targeted to mothers.
Topics covered by these work clubs included things such as properly caring for children and other family members. Jarvis then organized a “Mothers’ Friendship Day” aimed at promoting reconciliation between former Confederate and Union soldiers around 1868.
The holiday was officially recognized in the early 1900s after a push by Jarvis’ daughter, Anna Jarvis. From the moment the historic holiday was launched in a local retail store, the link was cemented between retail establishments and the public.
However, it was not until 1914 that President Woodrow Wilson officially adopted the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day.
Estimated Spending US/UK
There are several categories of gifts people purchase for Mother’s Day, including cards, gifts, flowers and experience gifts such as spa days or pedicures.
There are marked differences between spending for each sector in the US and the UK. People from every walk of life are actively looking for ways to spoil their beloved mothers and other female figures in their lives.
US Mother’s Day Sale Statistics per Capita
In general, Americans spend more than their British counterparts on Mother’s Day. This reflects not only in direct retail sales, but also in the secondary purchases such as brunch or dinner that is purchased as a gift.
Flowers are the most traditional gift given to mothers on Mother’s Day. In 2020, U.S. consumers planned to spend a total of 2.56 billion U.S. dollars on flowers for Mother’s Day.
But people spend the most on jewelry. Following is the breakdown of expenditure on gifts per capita.
- Jewelry: $40.38
- Special outing: $31.26
- Consumer electronics: $22.48
- Gift cards: $22.04
- Flowers: $19.62
- Clothing or Clothing accessories: $19.66.
UK Mother’s Day Sale Statistics
In 2019, Mother’s Day sales rose up to 1.6 billion in the UK, according to Retail Insight Network.
Those sales went down in 2020 due to the pandemic and the weaker purchasing power.
- 25.4% of consumers spent less on Mother’s Day purchases in 2020, according to the GlobalData’s Retail Occasions series report.
- Mother’s Day retail penetration declined from “59.5% in 2019 to 53.7%, as most consumers stayed at home,” according to the same study.
- Likewise, the percentage of Mother’s Day shoppers buying gifts online grew by 3.6 ppts in 2020, according to the same study.
Last-minute purchases are also quite common in the UK and the US alike, with high percentages of individuals researching online before making their purchase in a physical store.
Top Gifts in the US and the UK
While the first recipients of Mother’s Day gifting were lucky to receive a single flower, today’s moms are showered with a broad range of jewelry, candy, clothing, perfumes, designer handbags, shoes, hair straighteners, IPL laser hair removal machines and consumables such as brunches, dinners and spa treatments.
Are there any differences between the gifts that are most popular in the US versus the UK?
There actually are some marked differences between gifts for mothers on either side of the ocean.
Although most moms in the US receive jewelry as gifts, three categories of products grew enormously last year.
- 25% of people planned to purchase housewares, 24% of them planned to purchase books and 19% planned to purchase electronics for the moms in their life, according to National Retail Federation’s study.
- In the UK on the other hand flowers remain a popular choice to give on the holiday, according to Edinburgh News’ article.
Spending Trends in the US and the UK
Stores continue to proactively advertise the various options available, with aggressive campaigns starting early in the year and continuing throughout the month of March. Specialty and local stores continue to be big outlets for purchasing, as individuals find themselves shopping at the last moment.
However, online shopping is on the rise for the past few years and grew enormously in 2020, when people were bound to stay at home due to the pandemic.
- In 2020, 66% of US consumers planned to celebrate virtually in case they couldn’t be with their mother on the holiday, according to Digitalcommerce360.
- 43% of them want to find a gift that’s unique or different, according to Statista. 41% of them wanted to find a gift that created a special memory, according to Statista.
Now that you know the numbers revolving around the famous holiday, let’s check out some fun facts surrounding it.
- Mother’s Day is the third highest selling holiday for flowers and plants, according to Town & Country.
- Greeks and Romans celebrated Mother’s Day by honoring Goddess Cybele, personifying Great Mother Earth and Goddess of fertility, and Rhea, mother of the Gods, according to the Greek Reporter.
- In 2017, the average age for a first-time mother in the United States was 26.8, according to the Events Chimp.
- About 113 million cards are exchanged each year in the US, according to Woman’s Day.
- In the UK, Mother’s Day is celebrated each Fourth Sunday in Lent (religious observance in March), and in the US, as well as in most of the countries in the world, it’s celebrated each second Sunday in May, according to The Sun.
Mother’s Day is celebrated around the world. Each culture celebrates it a little bit differently, but the aim stays the same; To show appreciation to the mothers in our lives.
The similarities between UK and US shopping during Mother’s Day are similar, with the distinction that Americans tend to go bigger with everything that they do. That trend holds true with spending during the Mother’s Day holiday and beyond.