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You may have many “significant others” during your lifetime, but you only have one “mom.”
Which is why most consumers go the extra mile on Mother’s Day – America’s third-largest retail holiday after the winter holidays and back-to-school season, according to the National Retail Federation.
Brent Slagle, a co-owner of Flowers on Broad in downtown Augusta, said their average Valentine’s Day sale is around $75; for Mother’s Day, it’s closer to $120.
“For us, it’s about a 450 percent increase for (Mother’s Day) over any other day of the year,” Slagle said.
After greeting cards, flowers are the most common Mother’s Day purchase, with 67 percent of Americans spending an estimated $2.6 billion this year, according to the retail federation’s annual Mother’s Day Spending Survey. Total Mother’s Day spending will escalate to a record $25 billion, up from $23.1 billion earned by retailers in 2018.
Slagle’s mother and business partner, Patricia, said more people are eschewing roses, carnations and daisies for hydrangeas, peonies, hellebores and live plants.
“One trend I’ve noticed that has changed is Mother’s Day used to be the biggest personal-flower day, people buying boutonnieres and corsages,” she said. “We would never go to church in the day without having one, but that’s kind of dropped off, and that’s sad.”
The creator of Mother’s Day, a Philadelphia teacher named Ann Jarvis, originally intended people to celebrate the day by wearing a white carnation while visiting their mother or attending church. The observance has become highly commercialized in the decades since President Woodrow Wilson declared the day a national holiday, with shoppers this year planning to spend $196 per person, up from $180 in 2018.
“Mother’s Day spending has been growing consistently over the past several years,” National Retail Federation CEO Matthew Shay said. “And this year’s spending is expected to be the highest in the 16-year history of our survey.”
Restaurants have historically experienced brisk business during Mother’s Day weekend, and occupy a sizable share of the $4.6 billion spent on “special outings,” according to the federation survey. Womply, a software firm that handles financial transactions for small and mid-sized merchants, says the Saturday before Mother’s Day is the second-best restaurant day of the year in Georgia, based on its study of transactions at independent eateries.
The San Francisco-based firm said the typical day’s average dining bill is $32.69, but on Mother’s Day, receipts are more than 41 percent higher.
Jewelry comprises the largest amount of Mother’s Day spending, with consumers expected to spend $5.2 billion this holiday. Shane Thompson of Windsor Fine Jewelers said Mother’s Day ranks somewhere in the store’s “top five” retail holidays. He said people who grew up making arts-and-crafts jewelry for their mothers in elementary school are simply taking the sentiment to the next level as adults.
“There is still that part of a kid that wants to get mom something nice,” he said. “Jewelry definitely fits into that category of ‘something nice.’”
More than a third of shoppers, 38 percent, are expected to make clothing and accessory purchases, in the neighborhood of $2.3 billion.
Molly Senn, owner of fab’rik women’s boutique at Augusta’s Surrey Center shopping center, said her staff are extra helpful during the Mother’s Day shopping period because many customers are men.
Often, store stylists can provide guidance based on the woman’s previous purchase history. If they can’t, they advise shoppers to hit the “easy button.”
“Usually, someone who doesn’t have a clue will end up getting a gift card,” Senn said. “But that’s always a safe choice.”