Why American Retailers Love Mother's Day Almost As Much As Moms

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Photo Credit: Stux (CCO Creative Commons via Pixabay)

On Sunday, May 13, most Americans will celebrate the extraordinary woman in their lives — Mom — with a perfect outing and a gift or two. While mothers certainly look forward to the annual pampering, retailers anticipate the holiday even more. That’s because the money spent on meals, cards, flowers, jewelry, and other presents add up to billions of dollars, making Mother’s Day the third largest retail holiday in the U.S., behind only the winter holidays and back-to-school season. Even better? The spending keeps increasing year after year.

The National Retail Federation (NRF) and Prosper Insights & Analytics estimate that the 86% of Americans who will celebrate the holiday in 2018 will fork out an astounding $23.1 billion, or an average of $180 per person, to appreciate their mothers. The expected spending is among the highest since the survey began 15 years ago and second only to the record $23.6 billion that consumers expended in 2017.

“This year’s Mother’s Day forecast is one of the strongest we’ve ever seen,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “With spring in full bloom, Americans are looking forward to splurging on their mothers and retailers are prepared to offer a variety of options that will allow consumers to find the perfect gift for the occasion."

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Not surprisingly, jewelry tops the list with a $4.6 billion expected spend, while outings like brunch or dinner come in at a close second at $4.4 billion. An impressive $2.6 billion will go towards buying flowers and another $2.5 billion will be spent on gift cards. Other purchases include greeting cards ($2.5 billion), clothing ($2.1 billion), consumer electronics ($2.1 billion), and personal services such as a spa day ($1.8 billion). Housewares, gardening tools, books and music round up the list with $1.5 billion.

Though motherhood has been celebrated across the world in some form for centuries, the official US holiday is primarily due to the hard work of Ann Jarvis. The Philadelphia teacher came up with the idea in 1905 to honor the sacrifices moms make for their families. The inaugural celebration, held in 1908 at a Methodist church in Grafton, West Virginia, was such a success that Jarvis became determined to see the holiday added to the national calendar.

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To accomplish her goal, the activist started a nationwide writing campaign to newspapers and lawmakers about the importance of a special day to honor mothers. While many states, towns, and churches had adopted the holiday by 1912, it took another two years before President Woodrow Wilson officially designated the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day.

However, Jarvis’s vision of the celebration, which involved wearing a white carnation and visiting one’s mother or attending a church service, never fully materialized. Once the holiday became official, it was not long before retailers seized the opportunity to market their wares. Thoroughly disillusioned, she spent years speaking out, and even filing lawsuits, against the “profiteers.” By the time she died in 1948, Jarvis had disowned the holiday she had fought so hard to get altogether.

While Mother’s Day has since become increasingly commercial, most moms would choose spending quality time with their families and a getting break from daily chores over expensive store-bought purchases. So on May 13, do something thoughtful like making breakfast or doing laundry, and more importantly, set aside your devices and give your mom the undivided attention she deserves!

Happy Mother's Day!

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240 Comments
  • schulire000
    schulire000Friday, April 19, 2019 at 7:16 am
    I absolutley love my mom so much i would never leave her with someone else she will always be by my side
    • AnisshaSunday, March 24, 2019 at 12:54 pm
      I like Easter hunts because you can get Easter card and candy bars that why was like Easter the end.
      • myaTuesday, February 26, 2019 at 3:29 pm
        I love mom more than mothers day.💖
        • hiWednesday, February 13, 2019 at 6:53 am
          i wach this like 49 times
          • Hi Monday, October 29, 2018 at 8:09 am
            I love my mom more than mother’s day my mom means the world to me
            • chloe88
              chloe88Monday, October 1, 2018 at 8:53 am
              I love my mom so much I thought this story was so cute and loving to their moms
              • shootingstars
                shootingstarsThursday, September 27, 2018 at 6:58 am
                This video is so cute!
                • LondonMonday, September 24, 2018 at 9:46 am
                  so cuteee
                  • slytherinfan
                    slytherinfanTuesday, September 4, 2018 at 1:25 pm
                    The video is so heartwarming!
                    • dennis15Thursday, August 16, 2018 at 9:44 am
                      so cuteee