Father’s Day online shoppers: ready to buy

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In retail, the advent of summer means Father’s Day.  With retailers pinning hopes on every retail holiday this year, the good news is that consumers appear no less inclined to celebrate the father figure(s) in their lives, economic pinch notwithstanding.  Following are some highlights of the annual Father’s Day survey conducted in early May 2009 by BIGresearch for NRF / Shop.org. 


  • Three-quarters (75.4%) of all US consumers over age 18 plan to celebrate Father’s Day this year, with half focusing on their father or stepfather and over one quarter buying for their husband. 
  • These consumers each plan to spend a combined average of $90.89 – with fully two thirds expecting to spend much the same amount as in 2008. 
  • Consumers anticipate shopping in a variety of retail venues, including department stores, discount stores, and, to lesser extent, specialty stores such as greeting card or electronics stores.  Just under one fifth anticipate shopping online for Father’s Day, the same as in 2008. 


  • While the group shopping online for Father’s Day is just 17.9% of the total, this segment packs a punch:  in terms of actual dollars, online shoppers each expect to spend a combined average of $136.31.  While that anticipated spend is down a bit from last year, it is still a hefty 50% more than offline-only consumers anticipate spending.
  • Fully 14.2% of online consumers (i.e. twice the number of overall consumers) expect to spend more for Father’s Day this year, with another two-thirds spending approximately the same as last year. 
  • Online shoppers will treat the dads in their lives to greeting cards and special outings, even a little bit more so than consumers who aren’t planning to buy online for Father’s Day.  Online shoppers also expect to purchase gifts ranging from books and CDs (40.5% – or nearly the twice the number as consumers overall), to clothing (38.2%), gift certificates (36.3%) and consumer electronics (29.1%).  They also appear more inclined than offline-only shoppers to buy gifts such as personal care items, sporting goods, tools or appliances, home improvement or gardening tools, and automotive goods. 
  • Online shoppers will purchase some of their Father’s Day gifts online, but plan to do some of their shopping offline as well.  Online shoppers expect to use catalogs somewhat more heavily than consumers who only buy offline, and will also buy in department and discount stores, albeit to somewhat less extent than offline-only shoppers. 

Clearly, online shoppers continue to be a lucrative segment to target.  Since they will shop in multiple channels, the key will be *marketing online* to this high potential segment of customers to get them to purchase — in any venue.  In addition to executing well on tried and true email, affiliate and search tactics, retailers may also consider experimenting with a Twitter or Facebook campaign centered on Father’s Day.  If nothing else, more online consumers will learn about one’s products and gift ideas (regardless of which channel they ultimately purchase in), and the organization itself will learn from this experience in preparation for the all-important 2009 holiday season. 

For more information, please see the full data results of this study available to Shop.org Members, as well as the NRF press release.


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