Record-breaking spending expected for Mother’s Day

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Mother’s Day shoppers are expected to spend a record-breaking $23.6 billion this year, according to the National Retail Federation. That’s up from last year’s $21.4 billion Mother’s Day spending.

On Wednesday, Gary D’Amario, the owner of City Gardens Flower Shop in Providence, fielded several phone calls for Mother’s Day orders.

“I’m busy Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and then it depends on the weather for the weekend,” D’Amario said. “If it’s a rainy weekend, I will be busier. If it’s a sunny weekend, then the garden centers are busy.”

Though he’ll be busy, D’Amario said Mother’s Day has changed over the years from a holiday celebrated with flowers to a holiday celebrated with all kinds of gifts.

“It could be chocolates, it could be fruit, it could be a trip to Duck and Bunny next door for brunch,” D’Amario said.

The NRF predicts the average person will spend $186.39 this year, up from last year’s $172.22 average, and consumers are expected to spread out their spending,

  • $5 billion – Jewelry
  • $4.2 billion – Brunch or Dinner
  • $2.6 billion – Flowers
  • $2.5 billion – Gift Cards
  • $2.1 billion – Clothing
  • $2 billion – Electronics
  • $1.9 billion – Spa Services

Kristen Regine, a marketing professor at Johnson and Wales University, explained the spike in spending.

“What the research revealed is that it is actually the millennials that are actually causing the shift and uptick in spending,” Regine said. “As they’re getting older and getting more settled in jobs, and getting married and having extended families, we can attribute that to the increase in the spending this year.”

For last-minute Mother’s Day shoppers, the Better Business Bureau offered this advice:

Ask around for recommendations. Not sure of what to get? Ask friends for recommendations of places to shop for mom or dad, verify references, and be sure to check out the BBB Business Profile at before handing over any money.

Gift Certificates. Be sure to check the terms and conditions of any gift card or certificate before buying. If you’re giving a gift card to someone who will make online purchases, check to see that the gift card is redeemable for online, and not just for in-store use.

Electronics. Whether you plan to buy mom or dad a new phone, tablet or other device, make sure you leave it in the original packaging. Many retailers require the original packaging in order to process returns or exchanges.

Check the shipping ETA. Some businesses take longer to ship than others depending on where they are shipping from in approximation to where you live, or if the item you are planning to purchase is currently in stock. Before you purchase a gift for mom or dad online, make sure the arrival date is before the special day. If the ETA says something like ‘5-7 business days’, plan on the package arriving the last day in order to avoid a late gift.

Additionally, if the business is advertising a special, such as a guarantee of arrival before Mother’s or Father’s Day, make sure you read the fine print. The advertisement can still be up on the website, but be past the expiration date. Make sure you save the details and receipts in case your package shows up later than promised.

Susan Campbell ( is the Call 12 for Action and Target 12 consumer investigator for WPRI 12 and Fox Providence. Follow her on Twitter and on Facebook.