How People Spend Money on Father's Day Gifts

How Much Is Dad Worth to You?

How People Spend Money on Father's Day Gifts
June 12, 2017

Father's Day will be here soon. Have you picked up anything for Dad yet?

You probably will, if statistics count for anything. In 2017, spending on Father's Day will account for an estimated $15.5 billion in sales, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF). That's a pretty impressive number – not in the league with Christmas, but not far behind the spending levels of Valentine's Day and Easter.

While Father's Day spending is continuing to rise annually, the $15.5 billion and average of $134.75 in 2017 is surpassed by the $23.6 billion and $186.39 on average spent on Mother's Day – and the gap is expected to grow in the future. Sorry, Dad. Complain if you want, but you should correctly conclude that extra Mother's Day spending is a wise investment – a premium for giving birth seems reasonable. As the old saying goes, "If Mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy."

What do people generally buy as Father's Day gifts? Here is the breakdown for 2017 according to NRF.

  • Greeting Cards (64.3%) – Greeting cards take up a significant slice of any holiday spending, and Father's Day is no different in that regard, with $861 million going towards greeting cards this year.

  • Special Outings (48%) – Dads tend to enjoy activities as much as gifts, if not more so. A special dinner out, a round of golf, attending a sporting event – even a nice family outing where Dad the Grillmaster reigns supreme – all of these activities allow precious time to be spent with the family without other concerns or worries. It's the perfect day for the overly busy Dad, and Americans plan to spend a total of $3.3 billion to make it something memorable.
  • Apparel (46.1%) – The stereotypical tie will always be received by a number of fathers, but casual clothing such as shorts and t-shirts are popular choices as well – and they are likely to get a lot more use than the tie. Consumers plan to give their Dads makeovers worth a total of $2.2 billion this year.

  • Gift Cards (42.6%) – Guys do like to do many things for themselves, and gift cards are an excellent way to let them choose their own gifts – to the tune of $2.2 billion in 2017. Gift cards are also good for fathers who are notoriously hard to shop for.

  • Electronics (21.2%) – Boys like toys. Men do, too. Electronic gadgets such as music players, e-readers, and tablets make great gifts that can be used throughout the year, and they make up $1.8 billion of this year's total Father's Day spend.

  • Home improvement or gardening supplies (16.2%) – Home improvement gifts are especially popular during a weaker economy, with consumers planning to spend $885 million on supplies in 2017; they are more or less an investment in upkeep of your home. At least that is the story you are going to hear from Dad when he asks for a fancy router or table saw. Just go with it.

  • Automotive accessories (16.1%) – It may be a partial stereotype that Dads do like their cars, but there is enough truth behind that stereotype to drive over a half-billion dollars' worth of sales in automotive-related products and accessories.

  • Other – This includes such items as books and CDs (23.9%), sporting goods (16.7%), and personal care products (20.9%). Yes, aftershave has not gone away as a Father's Day present. Some of the components in this category are individually approaching the half-billion mark in sales.

Ask your father or husband what he wants for Father's Day and you will probably get the response of "Anything's fine" or "Whatever you like". For many men, what they are really looking for is time with their loved ones to relax and enjoy their day. (What they are almost certainly NOT looking for is a paisley "Hello Kitty" tie.) Of course, only you can predict what the man in your life really wants, since you know him best.

If you need more credit to get Dad something special, check out MoneyTips' list of credit card offers.

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irene | 06.13.16 @ 17:54
If I hadn't already shopped this would have given me some good ideas. It's interesting to see what others buy as gifts
Erin | 06.13.16 @ 17:56
It actually makes me sad that so much is spent on cards. They are such a waste since most people just throw them out. And that is my environmental argument of the day. lol
Steffanie | 06.13.16 @ 17:57
We don't go too over the top on sending for Father's Day, but we do try to find him something he loves. Usually end up with something for the yard or a new tool.
Carla | 06.13.16 @ 17:58
One area that is probably high on the Mothers Day list is flowers. I picked up a new grill for my husband.
Beverly | 06.13.16 @ 18:03
Father's Day at our house always means a card and gift(usually a gift card) as well as going out to eat. Occasionally he will get clothing or something else, but he is a man who already has everything so he's hard to buy for.
Chrisitna | 06.13.16 @ 18:03
My dad has everything! Finding him a gift can often be difficult, so my sister and I usually combine Mother's and Father's Days and go in together on a gift certificate for them to go visit a place they like and stay a couple nights :).
trish | 06.13.16 @ 18:04
These are great ideas...but we went for Old School Rock em' Sock em' Robots game, and a wireless meat thermometer! (Wireless meat thermometer would fit the electronics though!)
Heather | 06.13.16 @ 18:11
I haven't even thought about what to buy yet. But it does seem to get harder and harder as the years go by. Gift cards seem so impersonalble too.
Jackie | 06.13.16 @ 18:11
I feel it's not how much a person spends on the gift as how meaningful the gift will be to the recipient.
Elaine | 06.13.16 @ 18:17
My dad is such a simple man that spending money on him is not a sign of love. So spending money just seems far fetched.
$commenter.renderDisplayableName() | 04.19.18 @ 21:34

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