Mother's Day vs. Father's Day - Restaurants

Welcome to post #2 of our Mother’s Day vs. Father’s Day analysis. If you took anything away from last week’s post, you’ll hopefully have learned two unmistakeable facts: 1) Moms love flowers, and 2) Dads hate flowers.

Shocking.

But this was just a microcosm of the broader notion that Mom’s and Dad’s simply like different things - at least when it comes to gifts and activities. How families dined out was a different story. 

Overall, restaurants saw a 47% increase in revenues on Mother’s Day and a 22% increase on Father’s Day. These are 2nd and 10th busiest days of the year for restaurants, respectively (Valentine’s Day was the runaway winner with 68% revenue gains). But while the volume was different, the behavior converged significantly.

To Splurge or Not to Splurge… That Is the Question

How do Americans pick where to eat to honor Mom’s and Dad’s? If you’re a wine expert, the following analogy won’t make much sense to you. For the rest of us mere mortals, this will probably sound awfully familiar.

Think about the last time you had to go to a housewarming party and you had to bring a bottle of wine. How do you pick? Maybe you think “Napa” or “France” and go from there... but more often than not you’re going to ask yourself, “how much should I spend so that they’ll appreciate the gesture (after they inevitably Google how much it cost), but so that I don’t break the bank?

Well it seems as though Americans have taken a similar approach when it comes to dining out. The figure below shows the average spending increase on the two holidays for each price range (price range being defined as the average price index amongst popular online review sites):

While restaurants of all price ranges saw meaningful gains on the two holidays, there was a clear choice when it came to the most preferred. At 91% revenue gains, $$$ restaurants saw twice the increases seen by their $$ and $$$$ counterparts. This was consistent for both Mother’s Day as well as Father’s Day (albeit at different magnitudes). Clearly families wanted to splurge, but not splurge too much.

Cuisine Style

When it came to cuisine style the two holidays, we once again saw significant agreement with seven of the top 10 options overlapping. Mediterranean, Steakhouses, Italian, Fine Dining, Japanese, Indian, and Seafood restaurants were all top choices on both Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. 

The worst performing Mother’s Day restaurants were predictable. Chicken Restaurants, Taco Restaurants, Burger Restaurants, and Hot Dog Restaurants all suffered significant declines compared to their more exotic (a.k.a. fancier) options. 

Families were far less discerning on Father’s Day, with no particular cuisine style seeing significant declines, with the exception of one - Vietnamese Restaurants.

Wrap-up

While always interesting to see how American consumer behaviors unfold, none of our findings here were entirely unexpected. 

Families spent more than twice as much celebrating Mother’s Day as compared to Father’s Day.  Mothers know best. Their knowledge, nurturing, and love shapes lives. They are the emotional center of most families. As Dorothy, from the In the 80’s sitcom The Golden Girls, put it, “It's not easy being a mother. If it were easy, fathers would do it.”

“It's not easy being a mother. If it were easy, fathers would do it.”

-   Dorothy, from the In the 80’s sitcom The Golden Girls

Ultimately, whether it’s a family with two parents, a single mom, a single dad, grandparents, step-parents, god-parents, or guardians, these are the people in our lives who influence us like nobody else. They deserve all the recognition in the world, and if spending is a good indicator, it looks like Americans are pretty good at giving them exactly what Mothers and Fathers asked for.
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About Womply

Womply has a database of over 1 million merchants spanning 450 business verticals. Our partnerships with many of America’s largest credit card processors gives us a unique view into the spending patterns and behaviors of American consumers. This data not only supports analyses like those seen in our blog posts and Statboard, but it also drives the analytics products that help SMB owners grow, protect, and simplify their businesses. For more information about us, check out our products or contact us at info@womply.com.

Mother's Day vs. Father's Day - Non-Restaurants

On average, spending on Mother’s Day festivities more than doubled that of Father’s Day. This should come as little surprise given the National Retail Federation (NRF) annual survey, which highlights the spending gap between Mother’s Day gifts and Father’s Day gifts.

And while the conclusion of this study matched that of the NRF, our analyses differed significantly. Rather than consumer surveys, we analyzed actual spending observed on the two holidays. Thus, you will see results focused heavily on restaurants, last-minute gifts, and specialty services and activities.

Non-Restaurant Spending

Mother’s Day

Below is a chart of the top 10 non-restaurant categories:

fig1.1.png

With the exception of Farmers Markets, there were no real surprises about the composition of the top 10 merchant sub-categories. At an average revenue increase of 197%, Flower and Gift shops were far and away the busiest, with Candy and Dessert Shops (75%) and Jewelry Stores (50%) completing the trifecta of cliche last-minute offerings. By comparison, Valentine’s Day this year saw 275% gains for flowers, 168% for candy, and 102% for jewelry.

What we did find surprising was that Day Spas, Massage Parlors, and Salons did not perform as well as expected. While still top-10 performers, these merchants were expected to see revenue gains exceeding 50%. Our hypothesis is likely that these businesses were indeed busy, but that a large percentage of services were paid using gift certificates (where revenue is booked at the time of certificate purchase).

Perhaps just as interesting is a look into where money wasn’t spent. Below is the bottom ten performers in the non-restaurant category.

fig1.2.png

Eight of the 10 worst performing business types were sub-categories more frequently associated with men. As the saying goes, “Happy wife, happy life,” and it looks like America’s men knew where to avoid on Mother’s Day.

Father’s Day

Below is a chart of the top 5 non-restaurant categories on Father’s Day

fig1.3.png

Predicting what would comprise the top Father’s Day categories was far more difficult than for their maternal counterparts. The two categories that nearly doubled their expected sales - Hunting and Fishing Stores (94% increase) and Guns and Ammo Shops (91% increase) - are highly influenced by geographic region.

At 34% increase, Golf Courses were the next sub-category most improved by Father’s Day. Like spas on Mother’s Day, this figure seems lower than we originally expected. However, given that 1) courses are already fairly busy in the summer, and 2) courses have finite tee times (thereby limiting how much excess demand they can serve), it makes sense that golf courses didn’t outperform other sub-categories as much as we had expected.

Theme parks (which are highly influenced by the start of summer, irrespective of it being a holiday) and Sporting Goods Stores were the only other sub-categories that saw significant increases on Father’s Day.

Meanwhile, below are the bottom 10 sub-categories:

Mirroring what we saw for Mother’s Day, the majority of poorly performing sub-categories were those typically associated with the opposite sex. Furthermore, Flower and Gift Shops were the runaway losers on Father’s Day. Apparently nothing says “I love you, Dad” like not buying flowers.

Comparison

Seeing gender normatives and stereotypes play out is obviously fun, but what we found most interesting was the underlying implications of these spending behaviors. 

Amongst the top-10 sub-categories on Mother’s Day were:

  1. Hair Salons
  2. Massage Parlors
  3. Day Spas
  4. Nail Salons
  5. Yoga and Pilates Centers

While one could argue that getting nails or hair done could be mother-daughter activities, these are generally activities done in isolation. Mother’s Day often means a few hours of solace from the hecticness of everyday life. In fact, a recent survey found that 71% of mothers wanted some “me time” to celebrate their special day. These results confirm this sentiment.

This stands in stark contrast to the Zagat survey that found that 52% of dads just wanted to stay at home and relax with the family. Our analysis confirmed this sentiment as well, with Golf Courses being the only sub-category to see significant revenue gains on Father’s Day. In fact, when looking just beyond the bottom-10 for Father’s Day, we saw sub-categories like Sports and Activity Places (-10%), Bowling Alleys (-10%), and Pool Halls (-8%) - all activities more typically associated with men being away from the family - all seeing revenue suffer on Father’s Day.

Up Next: Part 2 of our Mother’s Day vs Father’s Day analysis takes a look at Americans’ spending behavior at Restaurants.
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About Womply

Womply has a database of over 2 million merchants spanning 450 business verticals. Our partnerships with many of America’s largest credit card processors gives us a unique view into the spending patterns and behaviors of American consumers. This data not only supports analyses like those seen in our blog posts and Statboard, but it also drives the analytics products that help SMB owners grow, protect, and simplify their businesses. For more information about us, check out our products or contact us at info@womply.com.

Cinco de Mayo - A Case Study in American's Love Affair With Celebrations

Cinco de Mayo is not Mexico’s Independence Day. 

Surprised? That’d put you in a group with the large number of Americans who have come to know the date as, “Drinko de Mayo” or “Cinco de Drinko.” (NOTE: Cinco de Mayo actually commemorates a battle won in 1862 by undermanned and under-equipped Mexican forces over the mighty French Army).

Ranking 48th in the world in per capita alcohol consumption, Americans like drinking. They don't love it… at least when compared to the true drinkers of the world (Belarus drinks 90% more per capita than the U.S.!), but it's certainly a huge part of the culture.

What Americans do love, however, is having a reason to drink. They will pretty much celebrate anything (check out the rules to this Arbor Day drinking game). So when beer companies came up with the idea in the 1980s to push Cinco de Mayo as a celebration in the U.S., Americans flocked to it like ants on a fallen ice cream cone.

So how do Americans commemorate this all-important battle of the Franco-Mexican War? By going to Mexican Restaurants, obviously. In fact, the holiday boosted typical revenues of Mexican Restaurants by a whopping 140% this year.

So would any Mexican Restaurant suffice? The graph below shows the revenue increases of Mexican Restaurants, broken down by the availability of alcohol:

cinco_de_mayo.png

Clearly just serving up quesadillas and tacos was enough to drive significant gains. Mexican Restaurants serving no alcohol saw a 75% increase in revenues.

Meanwhile, burritos and beer was an ever greater boon. Mexican Restaurants serving beer (i.e. no hard alcohol) saw their revenues increase by 110%.

The real winners, however, were the full bar Mexican Restaurants. These establishments saw their business nearly triple on Cinco de Mayo, with 197% revenue gains.

So to all of the associations out there promoting National Fried Chicken Day, Donut Day, or any of the other “Day” meant to promote businesses in your category, I wish you the best of luck. Just remember, if you’re ever finding that you need a little extra boost to get your holiday over the top, I have two words for you….. Tequila shots.
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About Womply

Womply has a database of over 1 million merchants spanning 450 business verticals. Our partnerships with many of America’s largest credit card processors gives us a unique view into the spending patterns and behaviors of American consumers. This data not only supports analyses like those seen in our blog posts and Statboard, but it also drives the analytics products that help SMB owners grow, protect, and simplify their businesses. For more information about us, check out our products or contact us at info@womply.com.