This Year, Mother's Day Will Be Muted -- And Magnified


While much of America won’t be taking Mom out for brunch or treating her to a spa day this year, new research indicates emotional connections may be off the charts.

And if early creative releases from brands as diverse as Facebook Portal, Teleflora and Hallmark are indications, companies believe people have an endless appetite for the hard-workin’, home-schoolin’ and kitchen-dancin’ that’s been filling up their news feeds since the COVID-19 shutdown began.

The National Retail Federation’s survey, in partnership with Prosper Insights & Analytics, finds that while 71% of respondents are social distancing, 78% say celebrating Mother’s Day is important to them this year, given the pandemic. And they plan to spend more, with an average of $205 on gifts for Mom, up about $8 from last year. 



“Families are in an unusual position this year,” says Phil Rist, executive vice president of strategy for Prosper Insights, in the report. “Some consumers are looking to make up for the fact they can’t take Mom out by sending her something a little extra special this year.”

But many are struggling with financial hardships, and of those who say they intend to spend less, 77% say it is because of COVID-19. 

The survey finds people are looking for creative ways to show Mom they care, whether it’s letting her sleep in or planning a family video call.

Maternal connections are going strong. Research from Affirm, a buy-now, pay-later solution company,  reports that 50% of those in its survey are talking to their mothers daily. And three times as many say they check in with their moms more frequently right now, versus those chatting less often. 

And while appreciation has been the theme of Mother’s Day since it started decades ago, gratitude is off the charts — almost all of it mined for real-life moms. 

Teleflora’s campaign, “A Mother’s Love,” for example, focuses on those “making the new normal feel a little bit more normal.”  Owned by Los Angeles-based the Wonderful Company, Teleflora says it wanted to find a way to laud women who have suddenly become “homeschool teachers, birthday parade organizers, and social distancing dance-off choreographers.”

Other brands are emphasizing the importance of distance. Shapermint, a D2C brand of intimate apparel, is running a PSA-style video on its digital channels urging people to stay away from Mom to keep her safe. Themed “#MakeTheCall,” ads are based on video phone conversations with real daughters, thanking mothers for shaping their lives. It’s shifted its “significant” Mother’s Day ad budget to promote the idea that people can save their parents’ lives by not visiting.

Shapermint is also enlisting influencers like Tori Spelling, Kira Girard and its brand ambassadors, who are asking women to “stay socially distant, but emotionally present.” And it’s urging women who do so to record and share the call on their own social channels.

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