Spending Down But Gifts Still Varied for Mother’s Day

Last year, mom got tablets and smartphones, beauty supplies, apparel and jewelry. This year, consumers turn to more practical gifts, a survey says. 

Americans will spend an average of $162.94 on mom this year, down from a high of $168.94 last year, according to the National Retail Federation’s 2014 Mother’s Day Spending Survey. Total spending is expected to reach $19.9 billion.

Most consumers plan to buy a greeting card (81.3%). Two-thirds of those celebrating will buy mom her favorite flowers, spending a total of $2.3 billion, and a third will look for spring sweaters and blouses, spending a total of $1.7 billion on apparel and accessory items.

Other popular gifts are books and CDs ($480 million), housewares or gardening tools ($812 million), personal experience gifts like a day at the spa ($1.5 billion) and jewelry ($3.6 billion). The biggest category is a special meal out: brunches and dinners are expected to account for $3.8 billion in Mother’s Day spending.

Consumer electronics ticked down as a choice from 2013. More than one in 10 (13.1%) will buy a tablet or smartphone, spending a total of $1.7 billion, down from $2.3 billion last year.

More than two out of every five consumers surveyed (43.3%) plans to buy a gift card, up from 41.5% last year; total spending on gift cards is expected to reach $2.1 billion, up from $2 billion last year.

Among other findings:


  • Most shoppers will head to specialty stores for gifts (33.5%) but others will shop at department stores (32.4%), discount stores (24%) and online (29%). Those 18 to 24 are the most likely to shop at department stores.
  • Young adults (ages 25 to 34) will spend the most on mom: an average of $216.53.
  • Nearly two-thirds (63.9%) will shop for their mother or stepmother, 22.5% for their wife, 9.2% for their daughter and 6.6% for their grandmother.