What do people buy as Father's Day gifts?

Posted at 9:57 AM, Jun 15, 2016

Father's Day will be here soon. Have you picked up anything for Dad yet?

You probably will, if statistics count for anything. In 2016, spending on Father's Day will account for an estimated $14.3 billion in sales, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF). That's a pretty impressive number – not in the league with Christmas, but not far behind the spending levels of Valentine's Day and Easter.

While Father's Day spending is continuing to rise annually, the $14.3 billion and average of $125.92 in 2016 is surpassed by the $21.4 billion and $172.22 in average spent on Mother's Day – and the gap is expected to grow in the future. Sorry, Dad. Complain if you want, but you should correctly conclude that extra Mother's Day spending is a wise investment – a premium for giving birth seems reasonable. As the old saying goes, "If Mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy."

What do people generally buy as Father's Day gifts? Here is the breakdown from 2015 according to Fundivo.

  • Greeting Cards (65%) – Greeting cards take up a significant slice of any holiday spending, and Father's Day is no different in that regard.
  • Special Outings (43%) – Dads tend to enjoy activities as much as gifts, if not more so. A special dinner out, a round of golf, attending a sporting event – even a nice family outing where Dad the Grillmaster reigns supreme – all of these activities allow precious time to be spent with the family without other concerns or worries. It's the perfect day for the overly busy Dad.
  • Apparel (43%) – The stereotypical tie will always be received by a number of fathers, but casual clothing such as shorts and t-shirts are popular choices as well – and they are likely to get a lot more use than the tie.
  • Gift Cards (41%) – Guys do like to do many things for themselves, and gift cards are an excellent way to let them choose their own gifts. Gift cards are also good for fathers who are notoriously hard to shop for.
  • Electronics (20%) – Boys like toys. Men do, too. Electronic gadgets such as music players, e-readers, and tablets make great gifts that can be used throughout the year.
  • Home improvement or gardening supplies (16%) – Home improvement gifts are especially popular during a weaker economy; they are more or less an investment in upkeep of your home. At least that is the story you are going to hear from Dad when he asks for a fancy router or table saw. Just go with it.
  • Automotive accessories (15%) – It may be a partial stereotype that Dads do like their cars, but there is enough truth behind that stereotype to drive over a half-billion dollars' worth of sales in automotive-related products and accessories.
  • Other – This includes such items as books and CDs (23%), sporting goods (16%), and personal care products (18%). Yes, aftershave has not gone away as a Father's Day present. Some of the components in this category are individually approaching the half-billion mark in sales.

Ask your father or husband what he wants for Father's Day and you will probably get the response of "Anything's fine" or "Whatever you like". For many men, what they are really looking for is time with their loved ones to relax and enjoy their day. (What they are almost certainly NOT looking for is a paisley “Hello Kitty” tie.) Of course, only you can predict what the man in your life really wants, since you know him best.

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