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Mother’s Day spending will total $23.1 billion this year, says the NRF in a new forecast, putting this year’s total retail spending just below last year’s survey record of $23.6 billion. Some 86% of American adults are planning to celebrate Mother’s Day (up from 85% last year), with these celebrants estimating they’ll spend $180 each, on average. That represents a slight decline from last year’s per-celebrant spending average of $186.

Respondents ages 35-44 are expected to be the biggest spenders this year, allocating an average of $224 per celebrant to Mother’s Day gifts.

The largest amount of spending will go to the following categories, per the report:

  • Jewelry – $4.6 billion total (down from $5 billion last year), with 34% of shoppers buying;
  • Special outings such as dinner or brunch – $4.4 billion total (up from $4.2 billion), with 55% planning;
  • Flowers – $2.6 billion total (flat), with 69% expecting to purchase; and
  • Gift cards – $2.5 billion total (flat), planned by 45%.

Notably, about one-quarter (24%) of respondents plan to give a “gift of experience,” such as a spa day or concert tickets. Youth (18-34) are the most likely to plan such a gift, as almost (45%) half are figuring these into their Mother’s Day plans. It’s not surprising to see experiences valued more by Millennials, as younger generations are showing an affinity for spending on experiences rather than products.

In terms of shopping destinations, the NRF survey reveals that more than one-third (35%) plan to shop at department stores for Mother’s Day, while 31% will shop online and 29% at specialty stores such as florists, jewelers or electronics stores.

A separate survey of 18-65-year-olds from Brand Keys indicates that more consumers will head to specialty stores (60%) and discount stores (55%) than to department stores (42%) and e-commerce sites (40%), though online shopping will be the fastest-growing purchase method.

About the Data: The NRF data is based on a survey conducted from April 4-12 among 7,520 US adults (18+). The Brand Keys data is based on a survey of 7,500 adults ages 18-65.

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