Mother's Day, From a Distance
Talking to friends, I realized that through adversity, comes ingenuity.
Coronavirus is forcing many consumers to modify their spending, gifting and celebrations of Mother’s Day this year as we practice social distancing. But, some ingenuity and advice from our friends, colleagues and neighbors, especially those of Hispanic and African descent, might provide some needed inspiration this year.
An annual Mother’s Day survey that was conducted by National Retail Federation in early April reveals that more than 8 in 10 consumers will celebrate Mother's Day this year. They are planning spend an average of $205 on Mother’s Day gifts and celebrations this year which is up $5 from last year for total expected $26.7 billion in spending. Perhaps little surprise, men are expected to spend on average $120 more than women.
Mr. Moksha Fitzgibbons says, “I’m going to go over the top!” Moksha, who is President at NTWRK—the new content, commerce and experience company for the pop-culture obsessed generation—explains, “I’m going to send my mom and ex-wife the biggest, most ridiculous bouquet of flowers ever.” Yes, even the ex-wife. “Seriously.”
Retailers should stress a little less. According to the NRF survey, only 30-percent of consumers always/very often look to retailers for inspiration which suggests Mother’s Day gift givers already have something in mind. And truth be told, all mom really wants to do is spend quality time family, sleep in or hug someone they won’t be able to this year because of the quarantine.
In a survey conducted by U.S. Foods in mid-April identified that 75-percent of respondents surveyed said there’s someone they won’t be able to hug this year because of the quarantine. 48-percent of moms said they’d rather sleep in on their big day, compared to anything else. And, 45-percent of moms said they’d prefer spending time with their family on Mother’s Day. They are 10 times more likely to want quality time with their family, rather than gifts.
Serial entrepreneur and founder of Grand Tactics Mr. Bee Nguyen says, “Mother’s Day will be celebrated with a simple, home-cooked meal with a nice bottle of Cabernet.” Bee and his luxury lingerie brand founding wife , TyLynn Nguyen, who is also the lead designer will be celebrating Mother’s Day with their three adorable children. Since their extended family are living in distant parts, “FaceTime with some immediate family” is in their plans, too.
For Mr. Geoff Cottrill, Mother’s Day will be similar to Bee’s version but a little more special. “It’s my 25th wedding anniversary, so I will be spending the day with my very best friend,” explains Geoff. As the senior vice president of strategic marketing at Coca-Cola, he and his wife Allie were empty-nesters until COVID-19 hit.
"It's a blessing"
“We have both of our daughters are home with us. Our 23-year-old is home from Boston and is working from our house. Our 21-year-old had to postpone her tour and is writing & recording a bunch of new music while she’s been home.” His younger daughter is better known as Clairo who has appeared on The Ellen Show and Jimmy Kimmel Live. “In the midst of all of the pandemic pandemonium, it’s a blessing that I’ll be with the three people I love the most.”
Hispanic and Black families are traditionally matriarchal, so Mother’s Day is regarded as one of the most important holidays for these communities. Speaking to the importance of females in Hispanic and Black culture groups, moms typically are the CEOs of their households. There has been a rising middle class among Hispanic and Black households that has been led by females gaining higher education and earning higher salaries than in past generations. In many Black-led households, females are the primary breadwinner.
Ms. Graciela Elata, a former leader at both P&G and Univison, shared that for some Hispanic families, the holiday starts with a breakfast made for mom. Families make this a special occasion to get dressed up and estrenar, or “show off,” a new outfit or accessory, wear a special perfume, jazz up their makeup, or use a new product to feel more vibrant. They often attend a religious service and meet up at a family member’s home or at a restaurant for lunch.
As in the past, and perhaps more so today, mothers are uniquely respected for their wisdom and hold great influence over their spouses and children. As a result, children learn to place importance on the things that matter to Hispanics and Blacks–from family and culture to language and brand loyalty.
In the Central American country of Belize, Mr. Moses Michael Levi Barrow wears many hats including father, husband, public servant, entrepreneur, and philanthropist. Hip hop music enthusiasts better know him as rap artist Shyne—an artist strongly associated with Sean “Puffy” Combs. Today, one of his most prideful roles this Mother’s Day is co-hosting Mesopotamia Sunday Dinna with Lovenia Anderson as they do every Sunday for the elderly and single mothers of Belize. As Shyne Barrow put it simply to me, “Every day is Mother’s Day.”
Radion Beckford—better known as Jamaican reggae dancehall artist Chi Ching Ching—has developed his own broader sense of who he honors on Mother’s Day. The “Roast or Fry” and “Callaloo” singer who regularly partners with global reggae superstar Sean Paul somberly shares with me that he didn’t know his mother. “My approach is different. I got a lot of mothers. I will give some of them a special gift including my baby’s mother.”
The NRF survey reveals that two-thirds of consumers plan to celebrate Mother’s Day virtually this year. According to Mr. Christopher Arjona Castro, the corporate sales and marketing director of TAFER Hotels and Resorts in Mexico, “For this Mother’s Day, the internet and the systems to connect through video calls will be playing an important role more than ever to fuel the needs of his Latin family.” Chris finds that the economy and Latin culture are inter-related. As such, he suggests, “in this time it is important to be creative with a thoughtful gift, but not an expensive one.” One characteristic that Chris and others share is the belief that, “COVID-19 won't manage to separate us from our mothers or prevent us from saying: “I love you!”
For those not adhering to mom’s requests for sleep or quality, there’s always a tangible gift. The survey from NRF suggests that electronics, housewares and books will see a significant boost this year as more consumers are interested in giving these items as gifts. Those planning to gift electronics grew 24-percent over last year to $2.93 billion in planned spending. Gifts of housewares are expected to drive $1.5 billion in Mother’s Day gift purchases while books will generate $710 million. Mother’s Day gifts consisting of jewelry, flowers and personal services with a combined planned spend of $9.93 billion will remain flat to last year. Not all gifting segments survived COVID-19. Gifts of special occasions dropped by 12-percent to $4.07 billion.
Finding a gift that’s unique or different ranks as the most important decision when picking out a Mother’s Day gift which is followed very closely behind by finding a gift that creates a special memory. 1 in 4 consumers are planning to give a gift of experience for Mother’s Day this year which is fueled by men.
And, to quote a television commercial from a well-known floral retailer, “In the Spring of 2020, the world did not stop. It kept spinning and moving forwarded fueled by the most powerful force on Earth, a Mother’s love.” It might be said that Father’s Day will experience some change, too. Stay tuned.