Father’s Day 2017: Experiences are winning over socks

It’s not only Mother’s Day that is becoming a bigger gifting event than ever, with a new survey showing that Americans are expected to spend more than ever on gifts for Father’s Day 2017. But in line with the trend towards experiences and away from products, the biggest share will be going to special outings like a ball game, concert or dinner, according to the National Retail Federation’s annual survey of over 7,000 people conducted by Prosper Insight & Analytics.

Some 77% of consumers surveyed said they’ll be celebrating Father’s Day and they’re expected to spend an average $134.75 for the holiday, up from last year’s $125.92. The total spend should reach $15.5bn. That’s the highest number in the survey’s 15-year history, easily topping last year’s previous record of $14.3bn.

“It’s encouraging to see that consumers are spending on special occasions such as Father’s Day,” NRF CEO Matthew Shay said. “This is a positive sign of strong consumer confidence heading into the second half of the year.”

Father's Day 2017: valuing experiences over physical gifts this year

Father’s Day 2017: valuing experiences over physical gifts.

Father’s Day 2017: Where we’ll be spending

The survey found 27% of fathers would love to receive a “gift of experience” for Father’s Day and 25% of shoppers plan to buy just that with gifts like tickets to a concert or a sporting event. Next on the spending list are gift cards, which will be given by 43% of people for a total spend of $2.2bn, and clothing, to be given by 46%, with the same total spend as for gift cards.

Some 21% of gift givers will be opting for consumer electronics and will be spending $1.8bn in total. Personal care will also be a strong category with 21% of people buying gifts like fragrance and spending $888m. Home improvement won’t be far behind on $885m, given by 16% of gift givers.

But as with Mother’s Day, greeting cards are the most common gift, purchased by 64% of consumers, although their low value per item means they only account for $861m of projected spending.

Father’s Day 2017: Personal Care Important Too

“With shoppers planning to be more generous this year, the personal care category will be one to watch,” Prosper Principal Analyst Pam Goodfellow said, adding that personal care and grooming products are on a roll. “Planned spending on items like cologne, aftershave and razors rose nearly 20% year-over-year, outpacing growth in every other gift category for Father’s Day.”

And where will people be buying their gifts? Some 40% of consumers will head to department stores, 34% will shop online, 26% will shop at a discount store, 24% at a speciality store and 19% at a local small business.

Among smartphone owners, 33% will use them to research gift ideas but only 18% will use them to make a purchase, maintaining their status as a key part of the shopping journey even if the transaction is conducted in-store or on a full computer. Tablets are used slightly less frequently to research (32%) but slightly more frequently to buy (19%).

Again, following Mother’s Day trends where the tradition of only buying for your mother/stepmother has been loosened in recent years, the same thing is happening with Father’s Day. More than half of those surveyed plan to buy for their fathers or stepfathers (54%) but many people will also shop for their husbands (29%) or sons (10%).

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