It isn't mom's fault that Mother's Day gets all the deals and Father's Day gets polite recognition from retailers.
The National Retail Federation estimates that U.S. consumers will spend $23.6 billion (or $186.39 apiece) on Mother's Day this year. Last year, however, the NRF put Father's Day spending at $14.3 billion, or $125.92 per person. If it feels like that spending is always similarly skewed, you're not wrong: IBISWorld notes that the $9.75 billion spent on Father's Day in 2008 was dwarfed by the $16.76 billion spent on Mother's Day.
As a survey by DealNews found out, however, this disparity is mostly your fault. While 46% of people plan to buy a gift for their mom this Mother's Day, just 30% of people plan to buy a gift for their dad this Father's Day. Maybe it's because mothers are just better at laying on the guilt: 40% feel obligated or pressured to buy for their mom on Mother's Day, while just 30% feel the same about Father's Day. Sons are particularly susceptible to this gambit, with 62% of males feeling obliged to spend on Mother's Day, compared to just 36% of women.
That said, Mom shouldn't overdo it with the guilt. While 59% of single people and 57% of people who are single but living with a partner celebrate Mother's Day with their mom this year, just 40% of married people will spend Mother's Day with their mom. It gets worse when kids enter the picture: 44% of people with children get their mom a gift, while 56% of those without kids do likewise. It's similarly bleak for dad, who gets presents from 39% of people without children of their own, but watches that decline to just 28% once kids come on the scene.
However, the National Retail Federations note that not all mothers are treated equally. Among those folks buying Mother's Day gifts, 63.9% are doing so for their mother -- which compares well to the 53.3% of Father's Day shoppers who are shopping for dad. However, while 23.3% buy Mother's Day gifts for their wives once they become mothers, 28.4% give husbands similar treatment on Father's Day. Meanwhile, the 10.7% of shoppers who buy Mother's Day gifts for daughters who've had children of their own, just 8.9% of Father's Day shoppers get gifts for sons with children.
But it isn't just the percentage of folks doing the buying that throws Mother's Day and Father's Day out of balance: it's what's being bought. You could get your dad the costliest item on his wish list (electronics, at an average of $75.65 per person in 2016, according to the NRF) and toss in some books and CDs ($23.43) and it would only be slightly more costly than the average $95.71 spent on Mother's Day jewelry alone last year. Also, not only are mom's tech toys pricier than dad's ($112.45 on average), the average $55.75 spent on a spa visit, facial or massage is well above the $35.84 spent on dad's hot shave and haircut. Even mom's brunch or dinner out costs more than dad's, on average.
As a result, retailers have stocked Mother's Day with sales while leaving Father's Day with relatively little. The folks at DealNews note that Mother's Day has become a huge boon for tech sales. For three years, electronics store Newegg has highly discounted smartwatches, refurbished tablets and noise-cancelling headphones. Dell Home, meanwhile, celebrated Mother's Day large number of TV offers that came bundled with high-value gift cards. Last year, a 32-inch HDTV was bundled with a $75 gift card for just $200, while a similar 24-inch model with the same credit offer fell to just $150. Microsoft's Mother's Day sale was particularly impressive, as it knocked up to $600 off a wide selection of laptops and desktops. TechRabbit posted its Mother's Day sale early, taking up to 88% off electronics and accessories.
Clothing designers get in on the deal as well. Last year, both Coach and Michael Kors took 25% off their respective lines in the run-up to Mother's Day, which meant deals on handbags, shoes, sunglasses, and pages of discounted apparel. Nordstrom Rack, meanwhile, posted its Mother's Day sale in early May and featured massive 90% discounts.
While you won't see huge markdowns on jewelry, given that this is one of the few times of year that people reliably buy it, occasionally a sale comes through. This year, Zales is offering a selection of Mother's Day pieces for just $29.99.
"Consumers are planning to open up their wallets a little bit more to celebrate the women with the most important jobs in the world on Mother's Day," says Prosper Principal Analyst Pam Goodfellow. "We will see older Millennials (25-34) spend the most, and younger consumers are putting their online shopping skills to good use to purchase their moms the perfect gift."