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Dad's not getting as much as Mom this Father's Day

Consumers are expected to spend $12.5 billion on their dads this year, compared with the estimated $19.9 billion spent on Mother's Day. Why the difference?

By MSN Money producer Jun 11, 2014 9:19AM

This post comes from Allison Lynn at partner site

Call it the gift gap.

Americans are expected to spend about $7.4 billion less on gifts and goodies for dads on Father's Day this Sunday than they spent on moms for Mother's Day last month, according to the National Retail Federation.

In fact, Dad may even be lucky to get a lousy card.

The federation says about two-thirds of consumers plan to get Dad a card. That compares with 81 percent who were planning to make sure Mom got a card.

The findings are from an NRF survey of 6,450 consumers conducted May 6-13 by Prosper Insights and Analytics.

Experts say that Americans have traditionally spent more for moms than they do for dads.

Robert Passikoff, president of the retail consultancy Brand Keys, said that's partly because many people do feel a bigger emotional link to their moms than to their dads. But he said there's another more pragmatic reason: There's more stuff to buy for Mom.

"It's just harder to buy for men," he said.

That means kids may end up buying a card, flowers and a sweater for Mom, and then take her out to brunch. For Dad, he said, there can be the struggle to find anything he'll like, followed by the inevitable tie, golf gadget or gift card.

Passikoff said that doesn't mean the kids got out the calculator and decided to spend less on Dad. They just ended up doing so.

"This is not a contest," he said. Father's Day © Getty Images

The retail federation is expecting that total spending for Father's Day will be $12.5 billion this year, compared with an estimated $19.9 billion for Mother's Day.


The group predicts that the average person will spend $113.80 this Father's Day, down slightly from $119.84 last year. For Mother's Day, it predicted that the average American would spend $162.94, also down slightly from 2013.

More than six in 10 respondents planned to get Dad a card. About four in 10 said they plan to get him clothing such as a sweater or tie, and about four in 10 also said they plan to have a special outing such as dinner or tickets to a sporting event. Survey respondents could pick more than one answer.

Brand Keys is predicting that the average consumer will spend $145 this Father's Day, slightly higher than last year. For Mother's Day, Passikoff's firm predicted that consumers would spend $184, also slightly higher than in 2013.

The figures are in a survey conducted as part of the Brand Keys Customer Loyalty Engagement Index. It polled a national sample of 5,500 men and women 18-65 years-old, asking if and how they were planning to celebrate Father's Day.

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Jun 11, 2014 2:18PM
My kids are little but I hope they grow up to have the sense not to waste money on that crrap.  Same goes for birthdays, anniversaries (from the wife), and Christmas.  I want a got to the park, get a big hug and kiss, and maybe something you made in class......just like any other day of the year.  I hope my kids know what really, not junk!!!
Jun 11, 2014 2:50PM
You know it is mom pushing the kids to do something nice for Father's Day. In my childhood my Dad loved and respected my Mom so much he would always give us a hug and a kiss and when he went off to work (2 jobs) he would remind us to be nice for Mom. In our home it was natural to do things for Mom (or else). Dad made sure we did the chores and helped mom as well as make her presents all the time. Being the oldest I asked Dad "why do you always have us make things for mom and never ask us to do things for you"? Dad would always say "the best gift you kids can give me is make your Mom happy".
Jun 11, 2014 2:53PM
A mother may cry but a father has to stand there and die a thousand times inside. We did not bare children so our bonds are different. Traditionally, our bonds are made through our wallets and that can also be love. 
Jun 11, 2014 4:10PM
What would George Washington, father of our country, say today about the condition of his country?
Jun 11, 2014 4:10PM
I miss my Dad very much and wished he was still around for Father's Day. When he was alive, I always made sure he got a card and a great big hug. He was a dad who had everything so it was hard to buy for him. What made him happy the most was spending time with his kids and grandkids and that was what we all did on Father's Day. 
Jun 11, 2014 3:39PM
Why the gap in spending?  Because in most cities, Father's Day is one of the most confusing days of the year.
Jun 11, 2014 3:31PM
That's because we could give a rip about this frivolous crap.
Jun 12, 2014 1:31PM
Sounds like a clear cut case of sexual discrimination where are the Ambulance chasers?
Jun 12, 2014 7:43AM
Mother's Day, dad cooks. Father's Day, dad barbecues. No respect.
Jun 11, 2014 3:45PM
I heard that 0bama got his father a new pitchfork and barbecue grill
Jun 11, 2014 6:42PM
It's up to people how they wish to celebrate Father's Day- whether it's giving gifts, giving hugs, etc. No matter how one spends it, they should always remember that love is the best thing one can give. 
Wtf does this have to do with being a Father anyway?

Jun 11, 2014 3:05PM
true in my household but also true that it's because mom does most of the work.  After working all week at a 8-5 job she comes home to cook, clean, do laundry, attend to homework, tend the garden and then go to night school.  Dad comes home goes to the couch and enjoys tv until he is called to dinner. 
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