In the US, equality comes to Father’s Day 2012 spending


By Robert Passikoff

Usually consumers spend 15-20% more on Mom than on Dad for their special days, but the 2012 average anticipated spend for Dad is up 10%, according to the annual Brand Keys Father’s Day survey

That’s precisely the increase we saw for Mother’s Day spending this year, based on the United States. The 2012 survey also indicates a slightly higher number of consumers (75%, up 4% from 2011) will be celebrating as last year. Those that are will be spending an average of $136.00 to recognize Dad.

A day born in memory and gratitude by a daughter who thought her father should be honored with a special day, has turned into what’s expected to be a nearly $12.3 billion dollar retail holiday this year, according to Brand Keys research.


As part of the Brand Keys Customer Loyalty Engagement Index, the firm polled a national sample of 5,250 men and women, ages 18-60, asking if and how they were planning to celebrate Father’s Day. Here’s what celebrants indicated they were looking to buy for Dad this year. (Parentheses indicate any percent-changes from last year):

Article 2 (T1)FF

The biggest change was in Gift Cards (up 4%). Consumers are still shopping smarter and looking for bargains, but as last year high-tech products were the actual gifts-of-choice, anticipated sales on those kinds of gifts are down a bit. How many tablets or e-readers does one Dad need?

Sales of wine and alcohol are up over 2011, while anticipated clothing purchases are flat. Although you can always count on the perennial Father’s Day tie. And virtually everybody (95%,) says they’ll be sending a card, either snail-mail or electronic. About half of the consumers (46%) surveyed indicated they’ll be celebrating with an excursion for brunch, lunch, or dinner.

Where they’re shopping for Dad

There’s a relatively even distribution in terms of where consumers will be shopping for Dad’s gift when it comes to “bricks and mortar” stores, perhaps reflecting a willingness to spend a bit more, Discount Stores are only up 2% while Department Stores are up 5%, and Specialty Stores are up 3%, with planned location-of-choice for Dad’s Day shopping looking like this:

Article 2 (T2)FF

But whatever they buy and wherever they buy it, beyond cards, folks intend to “connect” with Dad on Father’s Day, with outreach by gender unchanged from last year. Here’s how:

Article 2 (T3)FF

In 1909, Sonora Dodd, raised by her father, listened to a Mother’s Day sermon and conceived the idea for Father’s Day. She held a Father’s Day celebration a year later and by 1956 Father’s Day had been recognized by a Joint Resolution of Congress. In 1972, President Richard Nixon established a permanent national observance of Father’s Day to be held on the third Sunday of June.

There’s an old saying that a father carries pictures where his money used to be. This year’s increase in spending seems to indicate that families are trying to make up for that!

About the author

Robert Passikoff is president at Brand Keys, the New York-based brand and customer loyalty research consultancy that conducts the national survey.

Brand Keys

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s