At $22.4 Billion, Dad's Day Spending Nears Records

Subscriptions, like those from Dollar Shave Club, are expected to be popular this year.

While it typically pales compared to Mom’s big day, the National Retail Federation’s Father’s Day forecast shows consumers are feeling fond of pops this year.

The NRF expects spending to reach $22.4 billion this year, which is the second highest in the survey’s 21-year history and comparable to last year.

On a per-person basis, that totals about $190, with 75% of consumers saying they will mark the day somehow. For most, that means honoring Dad. But for a growing number, it also includes well wishes for stepdads, grandfathers, husbands, sons and grandsons.

Gen Z and Millennials -- especially the 25-to-34 crowd, who are most likely to have small children -- are the most enthusiastic, spending about $276 per person.



(By comparison, the NRF’s Mother’s Day forecast called for $35.7 billion, with an 84% participation rate and $254 per person.)

The Washington D.C.-based trade association, which performs its research with Prosper Insights & Analytics, says 58% of those in the survey plan on buying greeting cards. Clothing, at 54%, a special meal or outing, at 52%, gift cards (48%) and personal care items (31%) are the most popular gifts. 

The study detected a slight shift away from “gifts of experience,” such as tickets to a sporting event or a concert, at 27%, down from 29% last year. Iti found a substantial increase in subscription boxes, named by 42% of respondents, up from 34% in 2019, when it first began asking.

“While spending on these gift categories is mostly in line with last year’s record numbers, they are still significantly above pre-pandemic spending,” notes Phil Rist, executive vice president of strategy for Prosper, in the announcement.

“This is especially true in clothing, personal care, tools and appliances, electronics, home improvement items, gift cards and special outings, which have all increased by half a billion or more since 2019.”

By channel, the survey predicts that 42% will buy gifts online, 38% will head to department stores, 24% will shop at discount stores, 22% at specialty retailers, and 19% plan to support a local or small business.

The NRF survey is based on responses from nearly 8,600 adults.

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