published Saturday, May 11th, 2013

From flowers to jewelry, consumers are spending more on mom this year

  • photo
    Owner Dale Wilson creates Mother's Day floral arrangements at Blue Ivy Flowers.
    Photo by Angela Lewis.
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Mother's Day Dollars

Jewelry - $4.2 billion

Lunch, brunch or dinner - $3.5 billion

Flowers - $2.3 billion

Electronics - $2.3 billion

Gift cards - $2.0 billion

Source: National Retail Federation

Last year at Aubrey's, the doors opened for Mother's Day at 11 a.m. and all 250 seats in the Cleveland, Tenn., restaurant were continuously full until 5 p.m. The rush didn't end until 9 p.m.

"It was smoothly hectic," general manager Mark Woods said. "Mother's Day is the busiest day of the year for our company."

This year, he's got extra staff in the kitchen, extra servers up front and a prime rib chef special ready to go. And he'll probably need them -- Americans are expected to spend more on their moms this year. The average consumer will shell out $170 to treat a mother, daughter, wife or grandmother on Mother's Day.

That's an 11 percent jump from last year's spending, according to the National Retail Federation -- part of a four-year climb from 2009, when spending hit a low at $120 a person.

This year's most common gifts are flowers or a dinner out. Kathryn Earle said her husband is planning to cook dinner for her, her mother-in-law and her sister-in-law. All three are mothers. She said she wouldn't be surprised if he spent $170 on the meal, but said the money isn't the point.

"We decided instead of buying something this year it was more important to spend time together as a family," she said. "We might spend that much for the food, but the actual gift is the gift of time."

At Blue Ivy Flowers in Hixson, owner Dale Wilson said it will be hard for Mother's Day sales to trump Valentine's Day. But she's still working longer-than-usual hours putting together gift baskets and arrangements.

"Valentine's Day was off-the-charts great," she said. "I track our sales every year, and right now Mother's Day is trending about the same as last year. It's usually our second-biggest holiday."

Beyond the traditional flowers and meals out, a growing slice of shoppers are planning to give away consumer electronics such as tablets on Mother's Day. The 14.1 percent of shoppers opting for electronics this year is the highest National Retail Federation has ever recorded.

"Technology is making our lives easier," said Chip Pasley, general manager of a Verizon store in Dalton. "You can do so many things with a smart phone or a tablet. It's an all-around technology that you can use every day instead of just giving flowers that last a few weeks and are gone."

He said Mother's Day is usually not much busier than a normal Sunday at his Verizon store, although he still expects about a 10 percent lift in sales from the company's holiday offers and specials.

Gift-givers who do spring for a tablet or electronic device for mom will spend an average of $135 per person -- about $2.3 billion across the country, according to the National Retail Federation.

Chattanoogan Kiara Robinson said she and her siblings have treated their mom to a day at the spa or a shopping spree in the past, but this year are planning to surprise her with her favorite dinner.

"She'll be surprised, because we really don't cook." she said. "She's the one who usually cooks."

Contact staff writer Shelly Bradbury at sbradbury@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6525.

about Shelly Bradbury...

Shelly Bradbury covers police and crime in Chattanooga and Hamilton County for the Times Free Press. She's been with the paper since 2012, working first as an intern and then as a business reporter. She is from Houghton, New York, and graduated from Huntington University in Huntington, Indiana, with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and minor in management. Before moving to Tennessee, Shelly previously interned with The Goshen News, The Sandusky Register and The Mint ...

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