Consumers Will Be Spending More on Mom This Year, But Celebrations Are Still Homebound

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  • Many restaurants are offering Mother's Day brunch and dinner menus for pickup or prepped meals you can cook at home, as plans for holiday outings remain below pre-pandemic levels.
  • Consumers plan to spend an average of $220.48 on Mother's Day gifts this year, according to a National Retail Federation survey.
  • After greeting cards, the most popular item consumers will purchase is flowers, with 68% of respondents saying that's part of their plan.
  • But a flower shortage could make blooms more costly.

This Mother's Day, it's more likely to be breakfast in bed, not an opulent buffet.

Even though consumers are expected to spend more on mom this year, celebrations will likely still take place at home despite rising vaccination rates.

"There's more people who are planning, you know, Mother's Day brunch or special outing, but we're not back at where we were pre-pandemic," said Katherine Cullen, senior director of industry and consumer insights at the National Retail Federation. "I think there's still a little bit of hesitancy on the part of consumers to kind of plan those types of activities."

In a recent survey by the trade group, only about half of 7,818 consumers polled said they were planning a special outing for the holiday, despite consumers expecting to spend more on the occasion.

Many restaurants, mindful of the wariness, are offering Mother's Day brunch and dinner menus for pickup or prepped meals you can cook at home.

"I've seen a lot of restaurants offering a Mother's Day Special, where they give you all the ingredients and it might be partially assembled and you take it home and heat it up, and you can get a restaurant-quality meal at home," Cullen said. "I think a lot of those trends and services are going to be here to stay."

Flour, a bakery with nine locations and a commissary kitchen in Boston, is offering special menu options for Mother's Day, including frozen, ready-to-bake sticky buns and cinnamon rolls that can be picked up at the store. There is also a second menu for items, including a coconut cake, that can be shipped nationwide.

"We're doing a Mother's Day gift box, which we don't usually offer, which is really popular for e-commerce," said Holly Najdzin, senior operations support manager at Flour. The box includes homemade granola, a crunchy buttery toffee, sable cookies, English breakfast tea, a tea towel and a Mother's Day mug.

Flour also offers virtual baking classes that can be given as a gift, with the option to mail the ingredients to the recipient for an extra charge.

Numerous other online classes are available as well. For example, has workshops that teach how to arrange flowers or make a charcuterie board. Both have been popular Mother's Day gifts this year.

"Livestreaming experiences are also seeing an increase in demand compared to years prior to the pandemic as consumers seek to bond with mom virtually or simply in the comfort of home," said Chris McCann, CEO of

Americans plan on spending an average of $220.48 on celebration plans and gift giving for Mother's Day this year, according to data collected in the NRF survey from April 1-9. That brings the total expected spending for Mother's Day to $28.09 billion.

It's also an average of $15.74 more than consumers planned to spend in 2020 and $24.01 more than they planned to spend in 2019.

"This is the highest expected Mother's Day spending we've seen since we started doing this survey over a decade ago," said Cullen. "There's really a focus on giving things rather than giving experiences."

After greeting cards, the most popular item consumers will purchase is flowers, with 68% of respondents saying that's part of their plan.

"Mother's Day is the largest floral holiday of the year and our brand expects to deliver approximately 23 million stems for the holiday," McCann said.

But shoppers may be spending more on flowers this year due to a shortage and higher transportation costs. Some florists say consumers should be ready to accept substitutes and pay as much as 25% more than they did last year, according to media reports.

"Farms, not knowing how to plan for this year, cut back and it is causing a bit of contention," McCann said on "Squawk Box" on Thursday. "That, coupled with some weather conditions, has caused the challenge that we see in the floral industry today."

1-800-Flowers said it was able to secure enough flowers to meet its demand.

McCann said he is also seeing higher demand for food gifts, and NRF's Cullen said consumers were planning to spend more on jewelry.

"Even with all the hardships caused by Covid, even with all the uncertainty, consumers are really seizing on to moments where they can celebrate," Cullen said. "And we've seen this in pretty much every single holiday and special event throughout the pandemic."

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