Shop Talk

Retailers, consumers and prices

Dad’s gonna feel the recession this year

June 2, 2009

COURT ROBERTSA new survey by the National Retail Federation found that consumers are planning to spend significantly less on Father’s Day than they did last year.

Although retailers have already begun to aggressively advertise deals on grills, televisions and other toys many dads dream about, the National Retail Federation‘s annual survey — conducted by BIGresearch — says they’re out of luck.  Consumers are expected to spend $9.4 billion on gifts for dad, or an average of $90.89 per person, down slightly from $94.54 last year.

Let’s not forget that last year, the headline from the NRF survey said “Dad takes a back seat to Gas and Food costs.”  That’s right, before one of the most dramatic financial meltdowns in generations, Americans still weren’t planning to spend much on ol’ pop.  Back then, the cost of filling the family’s stomachs and getting them around town pushed the expected average spending down from $98.34, or $9.9 billion overall.

If these trends continue, it seems likely dad’s Father’s Day returns will have eroded much like those of Wall Street.

The most likely gift this year seems to be a new pair of socks, dinner or the old standby: the necktie.  Video games, smartphones and other electronics will represent just $1 billion in gifts this year, losing out to gift cards ($1.2 billion) and beating out home improvement items ($522 million).

But wait, there’s more: those same surveys that show dads getting less and less show moms raking in more.  Sort of.  A recent NRF survey showed Americans planned to spend an average of $123.89, or $14.1 billion overall, on Mother’s Day gifts.  Mind you, that’s still lower than recent years, but with flowers, jewelry and spa certificates, mothers are definitely winning the battle of the sexes when it comes to presents.

(Reuters photo)

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