Father’s Day: A Day to Honor Thy Father with His Favorite Things

May was for the Moms and June is for the Dads. Father’s Day – the day to celebrate Dads – is quickly approaching. What are the most popular gifts for Dad? How much do consumers plan to spend? Are they spending more than last year? To find out the answers to these questions (and more), AYTM surveyed 1,000 US consumers who are planning to celebrate Father’s Day this year. Read on for all the info, plus a few dad jokes for your enjoyment.

The Founding of Father’s Day

While rituals honoring mothers can be dated back thousands of years, a holiday for father’s took a lot longer to catch on. In the US, the first Father’s Day took place in 1910, however, it wasn’t until 1972 that it became a federal holiday celebrated on the third Sunday in June. Similar to Mother’s Day, there are those who dislike the blatant commercialization of this holiday but the majority of consumers are all in to celebrate Dad with cards and gifts. 71% of consumers we surveyed plan to purchase Father’s Day gifts this year and 43% said they purchase gifts for their Father on this holiday every year.

Just like the findings from our recent Mother’s Day survey that showed it wasn’t just Moms getting gifts, our respondents plan to buy for all the men in their lives.

  • 64% – Father/step-father
  • 45% – Husband/partner
  • 16% – Father-in-law
  • 10% – Grandfather
  • 9% – Brother
  • 8% – Friend
  • 7% – Uncle
  • 6% – Son
  • 6% – Self
  • 3% – Co-worker
  • 3% – Other

Dad Joke: I wouldn’t buy anything with velcro. It’s a total rip-off.

Father Knows Best

Always be prepared. Perhaps your father gave you that bit of advice at some point in your life. Looks like our respondents have been planning ahead to be prepared with the right gift for Dad. 12% said they shop throughout the year when they see something appropriate, 22% started their shopping two weeks before Father’s Day, 30% started one week before, 30% plan to start shopping a few days before, and only 3% are in the last-minute club searching for their gift on Father’s Day Sunday.

By far, the most purchased gift for Mom on Mother’s Day is flowers, but gifts for Father’s Day are not so clearcut. Cards and clothing were the most popular gifts, both chosen by 36% of consumers. Gift cards (the only kind of card that actually counts as a gift in my mind) came in third with 31%.

Top 10 Father’s Day Gifts

  1. 36% – Cards
  2. 36% – Clothing
  3. 31% – Gift card
  4. 27% – Meal at a restaurant
  5. 20% – Beer/wine/liquor
  6. 20% – Personalized items
  7. 19% – Tools
  8. 17% – Popcorn/Candy/Socks
  9. 16% – Shaving/Grooming Products
  10. 16% Grilling Accessories

Just out of the top 10 with 14%, 14%, and 13% respectively were books/music/DVDs, electronics, and sporting goods. Men were more likely than women to buy gift cards, electronics, and alcoholic beverages as gifts.

9% of consumers we surveyed said they would be making gifts themselves this year. Top DIY gifts were cards (57%), baked goods (47%), artwork (47%), and a home-cooked meal (45%). Consumers ages 18-24 were the most likely age group to be creating handmade gifts for Dad.

Dad Joke: Why did the scarecrow win an award? Because he was outstanding in his field.

Like Father, Like Gift

Where do consumers get their inspiration for Father’s Day gifts? Well, the leading answer is not surprising – 62% of gift shoppers said it comes from the person for whom they are buying the gift. Other places inspiration comes from include:

  • 39% – Friends or family
  • 32% – Search engine (Google, Pinterest, etc.)
  • 26% – In-store display
  • 24% – Retailer’s websites
  • 22% – Social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.)
  • 20% – Advertisements
  • 16% – Online gift guides
  • 6% – News media
  • 2% – Other

What are the important features that make a great Father’s Day gift? Quality tops the list, followed closely by price and gifts that create a memory. Fourth and fifth on the list were uniqueness and personalization. Rounding out the top 10 were convenience, style or aesthetics, innovative features, made locally, and sustainability/eco-friendly.

Dad Joke: I’ll call you later. Don’t call me later, call me Dad.

Shopping for Dad

The majority of consumers (69%) prefer to shop in-store for Father’s Day gifts. The internet was not far behind, with 58% of respondents saying they would be shopping online. When asked where they have shopped in the past, 85% said in-store vs. 59% choosing online. Walmart was the most popular brick and mortar store for gift buying, while Amazon topped the list of online destinations for Father’s Day shopping. Amazon is in a class of its own, beating out its nearest competitor, eBay by 59 percentage points.

Top 5 Retailers to Shop In-Store |||| Top 5 Online Retailers
Walmart (59%).
Target (46%)
Kohl’s (27%)
DICK’S Sporting Goods (24%)
JCPenney (18%)
Amazon (89%)
eBay (30%)
A retailer’s website (27%)
Etsy (12%)
Overstock.com (9%)

No matter where they choose to shop, 53% of consumers plan to spend $50 or less on gifts for Dad. Only 16% plan to spend $100+. This is exactly the same percentage as we found in our Mother’s Day survey, in case you were thinking Mom’s were getting more expensive gifts. Compared to last year, 69% said they will be spending about the same amount, 23% will be spending more, and 5% will spend less.

Dad Joke: Did you hear the rumor about butter? Well, I am not going to spread it.

The Takeaways

Clothing won out as the gift of choice for Dads among our respondents, closely followed by gift cards and taking Dad out for a meal. Cards are always popular and a small percentage of consumers will be creating their own handmade versions. For in-store gift shopping, Walmart was the go-to location and for online purchases Amazon continues to dominate. The majority of consumers will be spending about the same as they did last year on gifts for Dad and most likely will spend under $50. And the final takeaway is this — everyone loves Dad jokes, come on, you know you chuckled.

Allie Smith is the former Director of Charts for eMarketer with over 15 years of experience in the world of market research. Her love for charts and graphs is only outweighed by her love for her whippets. She spends her free time watching Law & Order reruns while knitting cute hats for dogs.