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May 3, 2010
Moms Win Out Over the Economy

Good news for Mom. Jewelry gifts showed the most improvement as more than nine of 10 consumers (93 percent) plan to celebrate Mother's Day, with total spending estimated to reach $15 billion, according to the annual Brand Keys Mother's Day survey.

Celebrants intend to spend an average of $142 this year, up five percent from 2009. Men, following a long-standing pattern, intend to spend more than women, reporting an anticipated average "spend" of $168. Women reported an anticipated spend of $116.

Consumers feel a bit better about the economy, so Mom isn't getting shortchanged this year. Consumers have been shopping smarter and looking for bargains, but gifts this year will likely be a bit more substantial than they have been in the past two years.


Brand Keys, Inc., the New York City-based brand and customer loyalty research consultancy, as part of its Customer Loyalty Engagement Index, polled 5,000 men and women, 18-60 years of age and asked them whether and how they were planning to celebrate Mother's Day.

Here's what they found (percentages in parentheses indicate changes from last year).

What they're buying

Cards 97% (unchanged)
Flowers 70% (+1%)
Brunch/Lunch/Dinner 58% (+1%)
Gift Cards 55% (unchanged)
Clothing 36% (+4%)
Books 22% (unchanged
Jewelry 25% (+7%)
Electronics 12% (unchanged)
Spa Services 15% (+4%)
Candy 5% (unchanged)

The largest increases in gift categories were in jewelry (seven percent) and spa services and Clothing (both four percent), areas in which consumers had cut back in recent years. Also, the fact that more consumers are returning to specialty and department stores to shop for Mom (see breakout below) are welcome signs that consumers are feeling better about the economy.

Where are they shopping?

Discount Stores 38% (-2%)
Department Stores 35% (+10%)
Specialty Stores 45% (+10%)
Online Stores 25% (unchanged)
Catalog 20% (+5%)

There's been a slight shift away from discount stores for Mother's Day purchases, but whatever they buy and wherever they buy it, folks still intend to "connect" with Mom. This year consumers indicate slightly more in-person visits, again a reflection on their view of the economy.

Phone 50% (-2%)
Personal Visits 35% (+5%)
Cards 13% (unchanged
Online 5% (unchanged)

While the second biggest consumer-spending holiday behind Christmas, Chanukah, and Kwanza, Mother's Day involves a broader spectrum of relationships, embracing step-moms, female relatives, and friends. Changing family dynamics, including divorced and single-parent households, and the fact this holiday crosses all ethnic, cultural, and religious boundaries makes it a real opportunity for retailers

Mother's Day has become a universal holiday. Again, people are feeling better about the economy and about the future. While there are still times where consumers are watching their wallets and looking to cut back, this year Mother's Day isn't one of them.



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Robert Passikoff, Founder and President of Brand Keys, Inc., has 35 years experience in strategic brand planning for B2B and B2C product and service categories. He pioneered work in loyalty and engagement, creating the Brand Keys Customer Loyalty Engagement Index®, the Brandweek Loyalty Leaders List, the Sports Fan Loyalty Index®, and the Women's Wear Daily Fashion Brand Engagement Index®.

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