Every spring, millions of people in the United States and the United Kingdom flock to retail stores and online outlets for one simple reason: Mom.
With an expected spend of over $20 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 a full 35% are 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 2018.
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 sectors of purchasing for the Mother’s Day holiday, 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
- Cards: $813 million
- Flowers: $2.6 billion
- Jewelry: $4.6 billion
- Personal services (spa, pedicure): $1.8 billion
- Total retail sales: $23.1 billion
- Total online sales: $6.9 billion
31% of online sales of Americans celebrating the holiday $186 Average Spent Per Person.
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.
UK Mother’s Day Sale Statistics
In 2018, Mother’s Day sales in the UK were quite depressed, especially in light of recent years. The freezing temperatures and heavy rounds of snowfall kept individuals indoors and out of stores for the crucial shopping months leading up to this annual event.
Clothing and household goods were greatly affected by the 2018 snowstorms, with a fall of 0.2 percent in household goods and 0.7 percent drops in the clothing sector.
- Cards: £50 million
- Flowers: £260 million
- Personal services (spa, pedicure): $1.8 billion
£1.4BTotal retail sales: 60%% of individuals in UK celebrating the holiday£58Average Spent Per Person
Last-minute purchases are highly likely 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 UK
While the original 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.
Moms in the US are more likely to look forward to opening jewelry or a gift card for dinner or a spa from within their card, where 45% of individuals from the age of 18 – 34 expected to present this type of option.
In the UK, you’ll find that a lower percentage of individual invest in Mother’s Day gifts at all, with 60% of individuals in the UK buying for the holiday and a whopping 86% in the US.
The amount spent is much more moderate in the UK as well, with £58 (equivalent of around $80 USD) versus $186 USD spent by Americans.
Here’s some additional gifts that are tops in both countries:
- Gardening tools and housewares
- Music or books (digital or physical)
- Brunch, lunch or dinner
- Gift cards
- Personal services, such as spa day or retreats
- Consumer electronics
With all the different options available for spending on mothers, it’s not surprising that 53% of Brits admit to spending more on Mother’s Day than on the related holiday for fathers.
This is likely due to the expanded universe of individuals who receive gifts: daughters as well as husbands purchasing items on behalf of their children.
Spending Trends In The US And 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.
In the US, these impulse shoppers may make up as much as 29% of the overall purchases.
Price cuts and coupons were responsible for driving 40% or more of sales in the US, while free shipping drove additional sales and was attractive to more than 55% of online shoppers.
Consumer electronics continues to be an area of growth, with a 44% increase year over year from 2012 to 2013, with additional growth in the interim years.
The latest generation of mothers tends to be incredibly connected, with 50% of mothers with young children owning tablets and other mobile browsing devices.
The similarities between UK and US shopping 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.