A day born in a daughter’s memory and gratitude for her father looks to be turning into a $10 billion dollar retail holiday this year. OK, not quite as much money is spent on Father’s Day as it is on Mother’s Day. That’s the usual pattern, and anyway, Mother’s Day comes first. But this year’s average spend is up 5%, about $115.00 to recognize Dad. Where will that money be spent? Our survey found the following:

Gift cards 30%
Clothing 26%
Electronics 20%
Tools/Automotive 17%
Wine/Alcohol 5%
DVDs 2%

The biggest change from last year is that more consumers report they will be buying electronics (up +12%). That includes phones and would seem to indicate that people are feeling more secure about the economy and are willing to spend a bit more. Sales of wine and alcohol are down slightly, but that was never a really good indicator about consumer economic expectations no matter how many people said that the economy was driving them to drink! And anticipated clothing purchases are up, but retailers could always count on the perennial Father’s Day tie.

There’s a fairly even distribution in terms of where consumers will be shopping for dad’s gift, although – perhaps reflecting more confidence in the economy and a willingness to spend a bit more on Dad – Discount Stores as location-of-choice is down, but Department Stores are up:

Discount Stores 35% (down 4%)
Department Stores 30% (up 10%)
Specialty Outlets 15% (down 5%)
Online 18% (about even with last year)
Catalog sales 2% (down 6%)

The concept for Father’s Day began in 1909 in Spokane when Sonora Dodd, held a Father's Day celebration on June 19, 1910. By 1956, Father's Day had been recognized by a Joint Resolution of Congress and in 1972 President Nixon established a permanent national observance, held on the third Sunday of June.

There’s an old saying that a father carries pictures of his children where his money used to be. This year’s spending seems to indicate families are trying to acknowledge precisely that particular circumstance!

Happy Father’s Day to all!