The NRF says Mother's Day spending will decline to roughly $14.1 billion this year, with the average dutiful consumer forking over $123.89 on Mom this year, down from last year's $138.63. Still, four out of five Americans will celebrate, with most people (62.4%) buying gifts for mothers or stepmothers or wives (21.7%). But the survey, conducted by BIGResearch and including about 8,600 shoppers, finds that people plan to cut back on gifts for daughters (8.8% versus 9.4% in 2008), friends (6.8% versus 7.1% in 2008) and godmothers (1.6% versus 2.1% in 2008).
It's those ancillary relationships that have turned the holiday into such a powerhouse. Hallmark, for example, says that because so many people use the occasion to celebrate relationships with sisters, aunts, and other important women in their lives, it is the third-most popular card-buying holiday, with 162 million cards sold. (Only Christmas and Valentine's Day are bigger.) And among Hispanics, Mother's Day is the single biggest card day of the year.
Flowers are still the most popular gift, purchased by 66.8% of those celebrating. But dining out is still big, and this year -- as always -- restaurants expect it will be the busiest day of the year, reports the National Restaurant Association -- about 38% of all Americans will dine out that day. In fact, many will dine out twice, celebrating with different people: The NRA reports that 59% celebrate at dinner, 51% at lunch or brunch, and 22% at breakfast.
"Retailers understand that people are on strict budgets, even for important holidays," the NRF says in its release. "No one will forgo celebrating Mother's Day because of the bad economy, but they will put careful thought into what they buy and how much they spend."