Father's Day gift spending is up: A sign of recovery?

Father's Day spending is up this year. The recovery could use a little paternal love.

Nancy Gamon/AP Photo
This product image provided by Nancy Gamon, of Cincinnati, shows applique neckties by Gamon. Ties are a popular Father's Day gift this year, as are Father's Day cards. Americans are expected to spend, on average, almost $4 more on dad this year than in 2009.

There are plenty of signs these days pointing towards a slow, tepid recovery. Here’s a more hopeful indicator – the Father's Day factor.

The average adult will shell out $94.32 in Father's Day gifts this year, up from $90.89 in 2009 according to a National Retail Federation (NRF) survey of 8,431 consumers. Altogether, the country is expected to spend $9.8 billion on dad this year – about $400 million more than in 2009. That's quite a boost, especially considering that overall retail spending was down 1.2 percent in May.

So what can fathers expect to receive?

  • A good meal. About 40 percent plan to treat their dads and grandpas to lunch or dinner on Sunday to celebrate the occasion, and they'll spend $1.9 billion at restaurants.
  • Shirts and ties (of course). Almost 37 percent of the people surveyed planned to buy clothes, spending some $1.3 billion on dad's wardrobe.
  • Father's Day cards. About $749 million worth, actually. This year greeting-card buyers can choose from simple 99 cent designs to deluxe $5 recordable cards, so that even if dad can't see them this Father's Day, he can at least hear them.

Americans will not spend as much on dad this year as they did on mom. Consumers surveyed in April by NRF planned to spend an average of $126.90 on Mother’s Day gifts, up from $123.89 last year.

Part of the reason for the disparity could be that Mother’s Day has a longer history in this country. President Woodrow Wilson signed a congressional proclamation declaring the second Sunday in May Mother's Day way back in 1914. Father’s Day didn’t become official until 1972, when Richard Nixon signed it into law.

Or maybe moms are just easier to shop for? What do you think? What are you planning for Father's Day?

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