Americans Are Spending More on Father’s Day Gifts
Americans will spend a record $16 billion on Father’s Day gifts this year, according to the National Retail Federation, in a survey released this week ahead of the June 16 holiday.
“That figure has grown 70%, or $6.6 billion over the last decade,” Katherine Cullen, senior director of Consumer and Industry Insights at the NRF, tells Fortune.
As is typical, Father’s Day spending this year—while an increase from 2018’s $15.3 billion—will fall far short of the cost of celebrating Mother’s Day. This year, U.S. consumers spent $25 billion on gifts for moms.
“It’s not that moms get more love than dads,” Cullen assures. “They just get different types of gifts that tend to cost more.”
While flowers didn’t even make the NRF’s list of the 10 most popular gifts for this Father’s Day, it was the second most popular item consumers bought on Mother’s Day, totaling $2.6 billion.
Father’s Day celebrants will spend the most on special outings, totaling $3.3 billion, in contrast to jewelry being the top gift for Mother’s Day, or $5.2 billion. (The cost of treating moms to special outings was $4.6 billion.)
Another contributing factor to this gender gift disparity is that while 76% of people surveyed plan to celebrate Father’s Day this year, 84% of Americans celebrated Mother’s Day.
U.S. consumers shopping for dads this year will spend an estimated $138.97, compared to $91 in a decade ago. In 2018, dad’s were showered with gifts costing an average $132.82.
Where gift givers will do their shopping reflects the increasing trend of omni-channel retail dynamics, according to the survey of 7,591 consumers. More than half, or 57%, of Americans shopping for Father’s Day gifts will use a smartphone or tablet to decide what to buy, with 38% using mobile devices to research products and prices. The breakdown of people and where they’ll shop: 39%, department stores; 34%, online; 24%, discount stores; 23%, specialty stores; 11%, specialty clothing stores, and 2%, catalogs.
Those surveyed by the NRF said they plan on buying the following Father’s Day gifts:
Fashion for Father’s Day
“We are seeing three categories grow for Father’s Day, which includes special outings, gift cards—which could overlap with a special outing, like taking your father to a golf club, and clothing,” Cullen says. “Although we don’t know what types of clothing people are buying their fathers, menswear has certainly been a growing category.”
This year, 46% of Americans celebrating the holiday will spend $2.5 billion on men’s clothing, in contrast to a decade ago when 36% of people planned to give clothing, worth a total of $1.3 billion.
Granted, men’s clothing as dad’s day gifts will account for a small slice of clothing sales. But the expected increase in apparel giving should be encouraging for the fashion industry, buffeted by economic uncertainty from increased tariffs on Chinese imports ordered by President Donald Trump in his trade war with China.
According to the U.S. Commerce Department’s most recent retail sales figures, in April consumers spent a seasonally adjusted $22.827 billion in all apparel and accessory stores, compared to $22.79 billion the year before. Sales in clothing stores selling just menswear accounted for $809 million in March sales, down from $837 million in 2018, according to the latest figures. (The data doesn’t reflect apparel sales in department and general merchandise stores.)
Regardless of the gift, Cullen says that consumers have expressed an increasing desire to give unique presents across all the holidays the NRF tracks.
While clothing is a growing category, Cullen notes, “They don’t just want to give dad another tie he will or won’t use, they want to make him feel special.”