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Shoppers plan to spend this Mother’s Day, despite cost-of-living issues, research suggests

Shoppers are still planning to spend this Mother’s Day, despite cost-of-living issues, new research suggests. However, while searches for the day, which this year falls on Sunday March 19 in the UK, are up, there’s also evidence of a strong appetite for deals.

Google says that this year search interest is up compared to last year – and that its research suggests only a minority of shoppers plan to spend less this year, despite a challenging economy. Google Search Trends have found sharp increases in searches for women’s gifts over the period from February 4 to March 4 this year, compared to the same time last year. 

“While retailers may expect searches in the run-up to Mother’s Day containing the terms “gifts” and “women” to increase, held in comparison to other times of the year, they may be surprised to learn that these terms have seen a sharp rise compared to last year’s Mother’s Day run-up, despite ongoing economic uncertainties,” says Jacqui Owens, head of lifestyle retail at Google.”With our recent polling telling us that only 14% of consumers planning to spend less this Mother’s Day, it’s clear that the calendar date holds serious promise for retailers with year-on-year increases in searches for “Mother’s Day gifts” (+68%) and “gift set for mothers” (+133%) and “gifts for her sale” (+178%).”

Owens says brands should look at aligning with a sharp increase in search interest in experiential gifts, including  “vouchers for gardens”, where searches were 89% up in the period from February 4 to March 4 this year, compared to last year, “spas” (+38%), and “restaurants” (+36%). 

“Of course, we can’t ignore the economic uncertainties of the day,” adds Owens. “Fifty six per cent of consumers tell us that they’ll search online more before a purchase to try and find a better deal, and that sentiment is reflected in increased searches for “gift deals” (178%) and “cheaper gifts” (79%).” She adds: “On a day like Mother’s Day, emotionally engaging visuals and an emphasis on promotions and discounts could make all the difference, especially when it comes to effectively capturing the attention of engaged and deal-hungry shoppers.”

Will shoppers spend this Mother’s Day?

Shoppers planned to spend an estimated £1.34bn on Mother’s Day in 2021, according to Statista. That makes it a bigger peak spending event than Valentine’s Day – Statista figures suggest shoppers planned to spend £990m for February 14 2022. This year, marketing agency Ecommerce Intelligence expects they will spend £1.46bn, and that sales will peak twice. “It’s no secret that Mother’s Day has become an important occasion for both retailers and consumers,” says Ryan Turner, co-founder of Ecommerce Intelligence. “The significant year-on-year increase in online sales is noteworthy, especially since digital channels were the only option during lockdown, we are expecting that online shopping this year will exceed the numbers in lockdown. 

“Similar to Valentine’s Day, there is likely to be a double surge in sales, this is usually due to people who plan in advance and those who leave it til the last minute to get gifts. Some shoppers still buy early to secure product availability and accommodate possible delivery delays, while there is a noticeable surge in sales happening on the day itself. This trend can be attributed, in part, to same-day fulfilment options offered by ecommerce businesses and retailers who provide same-day click-and-collect services to accommodate last-minute shoppers.”

However, one study suggests that more than a fifth (22%) of UK shoppers will be cutting their spending this year. The average household expects to spend £67 on Mother’s Day, according to research from customer engagement platform Emarsys, which questioned 2,000 UK shoppers. Men (£83) were likely to spend more than women (£53) and those aged between 16 and 24 spend most of all (£97), with over 55s spending the least (£44). The most popular choices of gift include flowers (32%), chocolates (21%) and personalised gifts (18%). 

“There’s certainly an emotional value surrounding on Mother’s Day, and consumers are still intending to spend – but, with so many factors impacting spend this year, they need help from brands to get it right,” says Kelsey Jones, global head of product marketing at SAP Emarsys. “Genuine, emotive personalisation – made possible with an omnichannel strategy – will allow brands to meet consumers where they want to be met, with the right product at the right price.”

Gift options are also moving up the potential gift list for Mother’s Day, account to a study from Fiserv, Inc, which suggests 15% of UK shoppers say Mother’s day is one of the top three occasions when they buy gift cards.

Sam Lituchy, vice-president and head of gift solutions at Fiserv, says: “Our recent UK Prepaid Consumer Insights survey showed 56% of UK consumers believe giving a gift card is better than giving someone a gift that might be returned.

“The survey further reveals that consumers are looking to personalise their gift cards to make presents more unique for recipients. Over half of UK consumers (53%) say that they are interested in personalisation options like gift wrap and messaging, in addition to design improvements. It is clear that consumers want to actively participate in the ‘hospitality of giving’ by adding personal touches to the gifts they give. This means we’re likely to see both brick-and-mortar and online retailers offering more gift card options to boost sales and help customers create more memorable and thoughtful presents for their loved ones.”

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