by Stephen Garner

Father's DayConsumers say they will spend more than ever on Father’s Day this year as they shower dads with everything from power tools to trips to the ballpark, according to the National Retail Federation’s annual survey conducted by Prosper Insight and Analytics.

Consumers are expected to spend an average $125.92 for the holiday, up from last year’s $115.57. Total spending is expected to reach $14.3 billion, the highest in the survey’s 13-year history but still below this year’s Mother’s Day total of $21.4 billion.

“It’s encouraging to see consumers planning to splurge on dads,” said Matthew Shay, NRF president and CEO. “This increase in spending could be a good sign related to consumers’ willingness to spend more as we head into the second half of the year.”

According to the survey, consumers plan to spend $3.1 billion on special outings such as dinner, brunch or other types of a “fun activity/experience” (given by 47 percent). Clothing (given by 43 percent) and gift cards (given by 41 percent) are tied at a hair under $2 billion each while consumer electronics (given by 20 percent) follow at $1.7 billion. As with Mother’s Day, greeting cards are the most commonly purchased gift at 65 percent but account for only $833 million of projected spending. Other popular gifts include personal care, automotive accessories, books, music, home improvement/gardening supplies and sporting goods.
The survey found 22 percent of shoppers will opt for a “gift of experience” such as tickets to a concert or a sporting event. Two in five Millennials are planning to give an experience, significantly higher than older generations.

“After seeing consumers splurge on moms and graduates earlier this year, it’s no surprise that dads are going to enjoy a few more gifts on Father’s Day,” said Pam Goodfellow, Prosper’s principal analyst. “No matter what sales or promotions consumers will take advantage of on Father’s Day, they will make sure that the gift is a memorable one for dad.”

When searching for the perfect gift, 38 percent of consumers will head to department stores and 32 percent will shop online while 27 percent will shop at a discount store, 24 percent at a specialty store and 17 percent at a local small business. Among smartphone owners, 30 percent will use them to research gift ideas but only 16 percent will use them to make a purchase. Tablets are used more frequently both to research (32 percent) and buy (19 percent).

The survey of 7,200 consumers was conducted May 2-10 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.2 percentage points.