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KEY POINTS

  • We estimate that British consumers will spend around £1.4 billion on Mother’s Day cards, flowers, gifts and services this year.
  • Brits will spend approximately £260 million on flowers for Mother’s Day this year, we estimate, and around £50 million on greetings cards.
  • Men typically spend more than women on Mother’s Day, and the occasion continues to outpace similar events such as Father’s Day and Easter in terms of spending on gifts.
  • Retailers as diverse as Debenhams, Aldi and The Body Shop are making the most of the event through instore campaigns, merchandizing and selected promotions.
  • This year, more mothers than ever are likely to find their cards, gifts and flowers were bought from Aldi or Lidl. The discounters are aiming to capture a share of spend with gift items such as skincare gift sets, cocktail sets and wine glasses.

UK Mother’s Day 2017 Retail Preview

In the UK, Mother’s Day falls on the fourth Sunday of Lent. Therefore, due to a late Easter this year, Mother’s Day is Sunday, March 26.

In this report, we look at the value of the event, and review what major UK retailers are doing to capitalize on it.

 

How much is Mother’s Day worth?

We estimate British consumers will spend around £1.4 billion on Mother’s Day cards, flowers, gifts and services this year. This total includes nonretail spending such as dining out and event tickets.

Brits will spend approximately £260 million on flowers for Mother’s Day this year, we estimate, based on data from the British Retail Consortium. Every year, they spend around £50 million on greetings cards for the occasion, according to the Greeting Card Association. This is around 25% more than the approximate £40 million spent on cards for Valentine’s Day, and makes Mother’s Day the biggest spring occasion for greetings cards.

Easter is still the largest spring event in terms of total spending. However, if we look only at spending on gifts, Mother’s Day is as big as Easter, according to Mintel, a market intelligence agency. Overall, 60% of Brits spend money on Mother’s Day, and last year they spent an average of £58 each, according to Mintel. Its research found that Londoners spend the most, splashing out on average £87.12 per person.

According to Mintel, men on average spent about £12 more than women did for Mother’s Day in 2015. This is in part due to the fact that men are more likely to purchase a gift on impulse, which is more expensive, but also because men with young children will often buy presents for their partners on behalf of their kids as well as for their own mothers.

According to a survey by brand owner Cussons, the most popular Mother’s Day purchases are greetings card, which 29% of consumers buy. Some 15% purchase a bouquet of flowers and 12% treat their mother to a lunch out.

Mother’s Day remains a bigger event than Father’s Day. Over half of Brits (53%) admit they spend more on Mother’s Day, according to marketing body the IPA. Average per-person spending is up to three times that of Father’s Day, according to online marketplace operator Rakuten.

 

What are Stores Doing?

We visited stores in London to see what major retailers are doing to capture Mother’s Day spending this year.

 

Debenhams on Oxford Street featured a display of giant artificial flowers around their Womenswear and Beauty departments, as well as their recurring “Found It for Mother’s Day” slogan, familiar from previous years.

Like most of the department stores we visited, Debenhams was not promoting any particular category for Mother’s Day when we visited. This is likely because a large number of their categories, from apparel to beauty to homewares, may be suitable for gifting.

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House of Fraser was using a similar flower motif throughout its flagship Oxford Street store. In terms of product, the retailer was promoting modest, smaller-ticket items, such as chocolates, beauty giftsets or accessories.

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Marks & Spencer used the opportunity to promote its nightwear and beauty ranges, with 20% off selected items. The retailer also featured accessories and card stalls throughout their fashion department. In its food halls, Marks & Spencer featured food, flowers and small homewares using their “Mother’s Day with Love” theme.

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John Lewis emphasized homeware and electronics. We noticed an absence of a dedicated Mother’s Day gifting selection: when we visited the Oxford Street store, the gift area was focused on Easter goods.

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Beauty stores, such as The Body Shop, Kiehl’s and L’Occitane focused on gift sets and had strong Mother’s Day campaigns for their products.

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This year, more mothers than ever are likely to find their cards, gifts and flowers were bought from Aldi or Lidl. According to Kantar Worldpanel, these retailers grew their sales by around 13% in the 12 weeks ended February 26 (latest). However, in the latest four-week period, also ended February 26, growth accelerated to 14.2% at Aldi and 16.5% at Lidl.

 

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When we checked, Aldi was featuring deals from chocolates and flowers, to ingredients for breakfast in bed, and even home spa treatments. There was particular attention paid to wines and beauty products, such as Lacura face care and Ultrasonic products. Other nonfood special buys on sale on March 16 included skincare gift sets, cocktail sets, wine glasses and light-up photo frames.

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Lidl had not released nongrocery special deals specifically for Mother’s Day when we checked on March 17. It was, however, offering smaller-ticket, grocery-adjacent products such as cafetière gift sets and fragrances. Nongrocery special deals offered or listed as forthcoming when we checked on March 17 included women’s fashion, arts and crafts products, home baking products and electrical beauty products.

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Could Retailers Do More?

According to figures from BingAds, a search engine marketing platform, more than half (60%) of Mother’s Day retail searches are made from a mobile device, and searches increase by up to four times in the 48 hours leading up to Mother’s Day.

Retailers must prepare themselves for a late surge in consumer demand. They should recognize the need for last-minute stock and consider offering fast delivery services to gain a competitive advantage. Furthermore, their multichannel capability must be able to handle a last-minute jump in consumer demand and ensure products are available or alternative ranges are visible.

Research by news website Talking Retail in 2016 suggests that the retail experience often fails to meet shoppers’ expectations. Key findings from this research included that 37% of shoppers wanted ideas for presents and 27% of shoppers would have preferred a dedicated aisle for Mother’s Day. This suggests that retailers which fail to segment and highlight Mother’s Day products could lose out.

 

Key Takeaways

  • We estimate Brits will spend around £1.4 billion on Mother’s Day this year, including spending at retail and on services.
  • The fast-growing grocery discounters are among those aiming to capture spending on gifts, cards and flowers. Some retailers, however, appear to be more focused on Easter than Mother’s Day.
  • Many purchases are made last minute, so retailers should expect a late surge in shoppers.

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