coronavirus, mother's day

With Mother’s Day, unfortunately, falling on the calendar during the coronavirus pandemic, a majority of consumers will be shopping for gifts online this year. And according to data from a new study by Engine Insights, 62 percent of those consumers plan to buy through Amazon, surpassing discount stores, department stores, and direct-to-consumer flower and gift web sites.

Amazon was a force to be reckoned with prior to COVID-19,” said Lisa Marie Fortier, senior vice president of Engine Insights. “While online shopping previously was about 15 percent of U.S. retail, that has soared recently, and Amazon is one of the most trusted online retailers [which positions] them well during this time. They are the one-stop shop of the online world.”

Unsurprisingly, as overall online sales continue to dominate as consumers remain in quarantine, Fortier told WWD there was a notable rise in online sales for the Mother’s Day gifts this year. “People will be changing the way they celebrate Mother’s Day this year,” said Fortier. “Shopping will be different, which means gifts also likely will, and many will not be celebrating with their mothers in person. Amazon is poised to benefit from this, although sites like Etsy will as well. Online shopping at traditional brick-and-mortar stores will likely not see enough of a boost to compensate for closures but may get a boost year-over-year.”

The actual gift-giving will have changes, too. Thirty-two percent of respondents told Engine Insights they will still see mothers in person, though 22 percent said they would be spending Mother’s Day with her through video conferencing. Eleven percent said COVID-19 would prevent them from seeing their mothers at all on Mother’s Day. Of those using video conferencing on Mother’s Day, 37 percent said they would be using FaceTime, followed by 18 percent planning to use Facebook Messenger rooms, and 16 percent planning to use Zoom or Skype, respectively.

Further, while the Engine Insights’ data shows a majority of consumers plan to buy traditional gifts like flowers, greeting cards, and chocolate or candy, new categories emerged this year. Notably, 7 percent of consumers said they would be gifting face masks or other personal protective equipment for Mother’s Day this year. And 5 percent said they would be gifting “other quarantine essentials” for Mother’s Day.

“Interestingly, handmade gifts also seem to be of more interest this year, particularly among Gen Z,” said Fortier. “While some are shopping at Etsy, a number are making gifts themselves and supporting stronger-than-expected sales at crafting stores.”

Meanwhile, the survey shows strong differences between geographies. Consumers in the Northeast, which is more impacted, said they are less likely to go out meaning they are less likely to see mothers in person or shop in-store. Consumers in the Midwest were less likely to shift plans. Generationally, Generation Z showed a nearly even split of impacted plans due to the coronavirus.

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