Every year, on the second Sunday of May, Americans show their appreciation for the real-life heroes in their lives — moms — with special treats and lavish gifts. This Mother's Day will be no exception. A National Retail Federation (NRF) survey of 7,818 people revealed that the approximately 83 percent of US adults who plan to celebrate the holiday on May 9, 2021, will each spend an average of $220.48. The total, an astounding $28.1 billion, is the highest amount in the survey's 18-year history and easily topples 2020's record spend of $26.7 billion.
“There is a lot of consumer optimism around Mother’s Day this year as more people are getting vaccinated and stimulus checks are being distributed,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “For many, this is a chance to make up for last year’s Mother’s Day when we were under lockdown. With safety guidelines at top of mind, consumers are planning to be with family, are making travel plans, and organizing a special brunch or outing. All of these activities will be reflected through their purchasing decisions.”
The organization says that the increase in spending can largely be attributed to consumers ages 25-34, who plan to spend an average of $367.08 — almost $100 more than last year. While cards and flowers are the most popular gifts, they only account for about 3 percent of the $28.1 billion. A large chunk — about $6 billion — will be spent on fine jewelry, while another $7 billion will go towards memorable outings and electronics. Gift cards, clothing, and personal services, like massages, round up the list of the top choices.
Mother's Day has now become the third-largest retail holiday after the winter holidays and back-to-school season in the US. However, that was not what Anna Jarvis had in mind when she campaigned for a national holiday to honor moms in 1908. The Philadelphia school teacher hoped for a simple commemoration that involved wearing a white carnation and visiting one's mother or attending a church service.
Unfortunately, once President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed the second Sunday in May as Mother's Day on May 9, 1914, retailers seized the opportunity to convince consumers to buy readymade cards and other gifts. “A printed card means nothing except that you are too lazy to write to the woman who has done more for you than anyone in the world,” Jarvis wrote at one point. “And candy! You take a box to Mother—and then eat most of it yourself. A pretty sentiment.”
Disillusioned by the turn of events, the activist 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.
Though making your mom feel special on May 9 is important, even more so is giving her the love and respect she deserves all year round. Be sure to make every day Mother's Day by spending quality time with her and helping out with daily chores, especially during these difficult times, when many are juggling additional responsibilities, such as homeschooling.
Resources: NRF.com, Wikipeidia.org, wweexplorer.com