Dads, don’t get too excited about Father’s Day – spending is flat

Dads will be short-changed, with the average Australian expected to fork out $28.26 to treat Dad this year, up just nine cents from 2011.


That’s also half what was spent on mums for Mother’s Day, with families opting for cheaper gifts like gift cards, books and cheaper family dining, despite increasing consumer confidence.


IBISWorld found that despite positive employment news, wages growth and rising disposable incomes, Australians are still keeping a tight rein on the purse strings, with total Father’s Day spending rising just 1.9% this year to reach $659.9 million.


The bulk of spending will go to cafes and restaurants where $165 million will be spent, up 5.1% from last year.

IBISWorld predicts Australians will spend $87.1 million on electronics, up 2.4 % from last year, and $69.3 million on gift cards, which is the fastest growing category up 7.6 %.


Craig Shulman, senior analyst at IBISWorld, told SmartCompany spending for Father’s Day was expected to be “somewhat subdued”.


“We feel that the day will follow what has previously been happening on the day. It’s not a highly prioritised day in terms of gift-giving compared with other days on the calendar,” Shulman says.


“This can be attributed to fathers, who are not looking to monetary rewards on this day; they are simply looking for a positive experience with their family or some time to relax some other way. Those things are easier to pass on without spending so much money.”


This contrasts with Mother’s Day when Australians spend $1.36 billion, broken down to a per capita of $60 – more than double the expected spend for fathers.


“In comparison to Mother’s Day, mums feel that they deserve the attention and Mother’s Day has been around a lot longer, so there is double the amount of spending on Mother’s Day,” says Shulman.


Some categories have also fallen out of favour this Father’s Day. Sporting goods and clothing have both lost ground since last year, decreasing by 3.3% and 2.1% respectively.


Spending on hardware, personal care items and electronics is also expected to remain relatively flat.

“While every dad is hoping for a new gadget or tool to play with, value-conscious families will continue to chase bargains this Father’s Day and detract from the popularity of these purchases,” said IBISWorld general manager Karen Dobie.


Brian Walker, managing director of The Retail Doctor Group, told SmartCompany he concurred with IBISWorld’s report.


“I think the average sale will be flat because people are going to look for smaller gifts, more the sentiment of the occasion, and that will have the effect of driving overall sales down,” says Walker.


Walker says sales of Father’s Day gifts are likely to be affected by the cautious mood of consumers, as well as retailers not going about Father’s Day promotions in the same way they have in the past.


He says the rise of online shopping is also likely to impact on Father’s Day sales for retailers.


“If you look at classic Father’s Day gifts, books and CDs come to mind and they are both categories that have moved online,” he says.


This story first appeared on SmartCompany.


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