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Mother’s Day Spending Dips, According to NRF, But “Moms Will Understand”

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For Immediate Release
Kathy Grannis (202)783-7971 or grannisk@nrf.com

Mother’s Day Spending Dips, According to NRF, But “Moms Will Understand”

Washington, April 16, 2009 – It’s not easy having the hardest job in the world, but mom will likely understand the reasoning behind smaller, less expensive gifts for Mother’s Day. According to NRF’s 2009 Mother’s Day Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey, conducted by BIGresearch, Americans will spend an average of $123.89 per person, compared to last year’s $138.63. Total Mother’s Day spending is expected to reach $14.10 billion*, which is slightly more than Easter.

Of the four in five Americans (83.3%) who will celebrate Mother’s Day, the majority will focus on the women with whom they are closest. Most people (62.4%) will purchase gifts for their mother/stepmother or wife (21.7%) and scale back on gifts for daughters (8.8% vs. 9.4% in 2008), friends (6.8% vs. 7.1% in 2008) and godmothers (1.6% vs. 2.1% in 2008) in order to save some money.   

“Retailers understand that people are on strict budgets, even for important holidays,” said NRF President and CEO Tracy Mullin. “Budget-friendly gift ideas will abound this Mother’s Day: discounted digital cameras, books and apparel still show mom how much she is appreciated.”

The majority of people (66.8%) will buy flowers for mom, spending a total of $1.9 billion on those purchases. Slightly more than half (54.8%) will treat mom to a special outing such as dinner or brunch, for a total of $2.7 billion. People will also spend $2.3 billion on jewelry, $1.5 billion on gift cards, $1.2 billion on clothing or clothing accessories, and $1.1 million on personal services such as a day at the spa. In addition, consumers will spend $857 million on electronics or computer-related accessories, $587 million on housewares and gardening tools, and $487 million on books or CDs.

In the search for the best bargains, one-third (30.2%) of Mother’s Day shoppers will purchase mom’s gift from discount stores, while 27.2 percent will search out their favorite department store. Others will head to specialty stores like florists, gift stores and electronics stores (33.0%) and specialty clothing stores (5.5%). As evidence that the internet continues to play an important role in the way people shop, 18.2 percent will shop online. 

“No one will forgo celebrating Mother’s Day because of the bad economy, but they will put careful thought into what they buy and how much they spend,“ said Phil Rist, Executive Vice President, Strategic Initiatives, BIGresearch. “Moms will understand that kids may be spending on a budget, so inexpensive, personal gifts will go a long way.”

About the Survey

The NRF 2009 Mother’s Day Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey was designed to gauge consumer behavior and shopping trends related to the Mother’s Day holiday. The survey was conducted for NRF by BIGresearch. The poll of 8,667 consumers was conducted from March 31 – April 7, 2009. The consumer poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.0 percent.

BIGresearch is a consumer market intelligence firm that provides unique consumer insights that are gathered online utilizing very large sample sizes. BIGresearch’s syndicated Consumer Intentions and Actions survey monitors the pulse of more than 8,000 consumers each month to empower its clients with unique insights for identifying opportunities in a fragmented and changing marketplace.

The National Retail Federation is the world's largest retail trade association, with membership that comprises all retail formats and channels of distribution including department, specialty, discount, catalog, Internet, independent stores, chain restaurants, drug stores and grocery stores as well as the industry's key trading partners of retail goods and services. NRF represents an industry with more than 1.6 million U.S. retail establishments, more than 24 million employees - about one in five American workers - and 2008 sales of $4.6 trillion. As the industry umbrella group, NRF also represents more than 100 state, national and international retail associations.

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* Total extrapolation of US population 18+