Every year on Mother's Day, which will be celebrated on Sunday, May 12, 2019, Americans honor the real-life superheroes in their lives with special treats and extravagant gifts. Hence, it is not surprising to hear that Mother's Day is the third-largest US retail holiday, behind only the winter holidays and back-to-school season. According to a survey conducted by the National Retail Federation (NRF), this year, the spending will escalate to a record $25 billion, up substantially from the $23.1 billion earned by retailers in 2018.
“Mother’s Day spending has been growing consistently over the past several years, and this year’s spending is expected to be the highest in the 16-year history of our survey,” NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay said. “Consumers are excited to celebrate all the moms in their lives, and retailers are ready to inspire consumers with unique gift options.”
The poll conducted on 7,321 US adults, 18 and older, found that consumers plan on spending an average of $196 per person, up from $180 in 2018. The bulk of it will come from shoppers ages 35-44, who plan to expend about $248 each.
While greeting cards top the list of likely purchases (75%), the largest amount of money ($5.2 billion) will go towards buying fine jewelry. Another $4.6 billion will be spent on special outings, such as brunch or dinner, and about $2 billion each will be disbursed on flowers, electronics, gift cards, clothing and accessories, and personal services, such as a massage or a spa day.
Though moms have been celebrated across the world in various ways for centuries, the official US holiday is all thanks to the perseverance of Philadelphia teacher Ann Jarvis. The educator came up with the idea in 1905 as a way to honor the sacrifices mothers make for their families. After a successful first celebration held at a Methodist church in Grafton, West Virginia in 1908, Jarvis made it her mission to convince US lawmakers to make Mother's Day a national event.
To accomplish her goal, the activist started a nationwide writing campaign to newspapers and lawmakers about the importance of dedicating a special day to honor mothers. By 1912, many states, towns, and churches across the country had adopted the holiday. However, they all celebrated it on different dates. In 1914, President Woodrow Wilson unified the festivities by declaring the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day.
While Jarvis succeeded in her mission, her vision of the celebration, which involved wearing a white carnation and visiting one’s mother or attending a church service, never fully materialized. As soon as the official holiday was declared, retailers seized the opportunity to convince consumers that buying a gift was a better way to appreciate their mothers. The disillusioned Jarvis spent years fighting the trend and even filed lawsuits against the “profiteers" to no avail. By the time she died in 1948, Jarvis had disowned the holiday she had fought so hard to create.
Ironically, while moms do appreciate a thoughtful gift or two, most would readily swap it for an opportunity to spend more quality time with their families throughout the year or get a break from their daily chores. So this Mother's Day, promise your mom the attention, or help, she deserves — not just for one day, but all year round. She will appreciate it over any store-bought gift.
Resources: NRF.com, Wikipedia.org