3 ways Mother’s Day gift shopping has evolved

Mom will get more than flowers this year

Mother’s Day is almost here, and 84 percent of consumers are already planning gift purchases for their moms. Spending on this holiday has grown consistently over the past decade, and those celebrating are expected to spend more than ever this year — an estimated $25 billion. To understand what’s behind this shift, NRF took a closer look at the Mother's Day consumer spending data and identified three trends motivating shoppers this Mother’s Day.

A shift in gift spending

Total Mother’s Day gift spending is expected to reach a record amount this year, and those celebrating are planning to purchase a variety of gifts. The traditional flowers and cards are still popular choices, but more unconventional options have also been emerging over the past decade. The number of people planning to gift a personal service (like a much-deserved massage) has grown from 16 percent 10 years ago to about 25 percent today, and spending on these gifts has nearly doubled. Other categories of gifts such as consumer electronics and gift cards have likewise risen in popularity.

While these gift categories continue to grow, they’re doing so alongside more classic Mother’s Day gifts, rather than replacing them. Spending on flowers, for example, has grown by a third over the last 10 years; spending on Mother’s Day jewelry has increased from $2.3 billion in 2009 to over $5 billion today.  


Whether sticking with something tried and true or going for something out of the ordinary, shoppers want their gift to stand out. For many, what makes a Mother’s Day gift special is finding something that’s unique or that creates a special memory.

That’s particularly true for younger shoppers under the age of 25. When searching for the perfect present for mom, these shoppers are significantly more likely than any other age group to say they’d like to find a gift that’s unique (59 percent) and creates a special memory (47 percent).



For consumers looking to give moms a gift that keeps on giving, product subscription boxes services are growing in popularity. From beauty products to fitness gear, there are options for any type of mom. A third (34 percent) of those celebrating Mother’s Day this year said they’re interested in gifting a product subscription service; that jumps to over half among shoppers aged 18-24 — those most interested in finding something unique or memorable for mom.

For the 67 percent of consumers purchasing flowers this Mother’s Day, brands like Bouqs offer subscription services to make sure mom feels the love on a recurring basis — not just this holiday. For more insights on subscription service gifting, check out NRF’s Winter 2019 Consumer View.

A reliance on retailers

Hunting down the perfect gift can be a daunting task. Maybe that’s why 81 percent of consumers say they look to retailers for inspiration when making Mother’s Day purchases. Regardless of gender, age or income bracket, those shopping for Mother’s Day gifts this year will welcome ideas, and retailers are happy to help: Nordstrom created a curated Mother’s Day gift guide filled with ideas for the perfect present, and Kendra Scott is helping consumers find the ideal gift for mom by letting kids fill out coloring pages on its website and then bring their masterpiece to a store location’s color bar to design a custom piece of jewelry.



While cards and flowers never go out of style, consumers are also looking for modern and unique options this year. Retailers seem ready to help customers retain (or, if necessary, reclaim) the “favorite child” status.

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