The Big Business of Mother’s Day for Online Shopping

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Mother’s Day is the third-largest retail holiday in the United States, so that information alone should indicate how much money is exchanged over a single weekend. Its varied and long history has likely been celebrated since the dawn of time, but now online shopping has turned this holiday into Big Business. Let’s take a look at how Mother’s Day turned into what it is today.

A Brief History of Mother’s Day

The United States version of Mother’s Day started with Ann Reeves Jarvis from West Virginia, who created a Mothers’ Day Work Club that existed to teach women how to care for children. At the height of the Civil War, these clubs served as a unifying force for these women. 

In 1868, Jarvis organized “Mother’s Friendship Day” to protest against the Civil War with local Mothers. Another abolitionist, Julia Ward Howe, did the same thing in 1870.

Mother’s Day became a national holiday in the 1900’s due in part to Ann Jarvis’s daughter Anna Jarvis. Anna Jarvis created Mother’s Day to honor the sacrifices of her own Mother and other women like her and ensured that this holiday would be adopted to recognize all life bearers.

The Big Business of Mother’s Day

Next to Christmas and back-to-school, Mother’s Day brings in a lot of money for online and brick-and-mortar retail stores. While this is mostly from flower and plant shops, like Bouqs, practically all industries will see a boost in sales during this time if they market their products effectively.

Here are a few shotgun statistics about Mother’s Day:

  • In 2016, 8 in 10 Americans (or 84%) planned to celebrate Mother’s Day.
  • Mother’s Day spending increased by 10 million dollars from 2005-2016.
  • In 2020, over $26.7 billion was spent on Moms.
  • The average amount spent on Mothers on Mother’s Day is $204.
  • In 2020, 34-44-year-olds spend the most on gifts for Mom.
  • In 2016, 33% of Mother’s Day shopping took place in department stores. It’s challenging to find new data, but this has likely decreased due to COVID-19.
  • In 2016, 27% of Mother’s Day gifts were purchased online. It’s difficult to find new data, but this number has likely increased by double due to COVID-19.
  • 78% of all gifts are greeting cards; flowers are a close second at 67%
  • Most gifts are bought for Moms and Stepmoms. Wives are second at 23%.

Data for this section was taken from Fundivo and Gift Ideas Unwrapped.

What Mother’s Want vs. What Children/Spouses Buy

There’s only a small divide between what Mothers are bought versus what they actually want for their special day. Using data from the National Retail Federation, it’s determined that:

  • 43% of people want to buy unique or different gifts than the general population.
  • 41% of people want to buy a memorable gift or something that creates memories.
  • 25% of people want to buy a gift that’s convenient to them.
  • 17% of people want to shy away from expensive gifts.

Most children and spouses are more concerned with buying something special and within arms reach than they are with expensive gifts.

Mother’s typically don’t want something incredibly expensive or difficult to get. A 2020 RetailMeNot study found that Mothers prefer quality time with their family over extravagant gifts. Most Moms like to kick back and relax on their special day, as well.

  • 35% of Moms are hoping to receive a nice dinner from their favorite restaurant.
  • 28% of Moms want a gift card to their favorite retail store or spa.
  • 21% of Moms just want a spa day, whether it’s from a gift card or not.
  • 19% of Moms really want flowers—either a bouquet or a potted plant.

Buying all 4 of these gifts won’t break the bank. Plus, with the average spending amount increasing to $204 since 2020, you can purchase all of these presents for under $150. 

Businesses can use the above data to accurately curate their marketing towards what children/spouses want to buy their Moms for Mother’s Day.