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Consumers to spend (almost) as much on dad

WASHINGTON — While dads usually don't get the same caliber of gift for Father's Day as moms do or Mother's Day, if the results of NRF's latest survey are to be believed, dads should be pretty pleased with what they receive this year.

According to NRF’s 2012 Father’s Day spending survey conducted by BIGinsight, the average person will shell out $117.14 on dad’s gifts this year, up 10% from $106.49 last year and closing the gap between its biggest competitor: Mother’s Day (consumers planned to spend an average of $152 on the holiday). Total spending for Father’s Day is expected to reach $12.7 billion.

“He may not ever expect the ‘royal treatment’ on Father’s Day, but this year dad doesn’t have much of a say as it’s evident his loved ones want to make sure he has a great day,” said NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay. “For those looking for the perfect gift idea, retailers will have specials on everything from patio sets and grills to ties and gardening tools in the weeks leading up to the holiday.”

With a plethora of options to choose from, consumers plan to splurge on a variety of gifts. According to the survey, more people this year will treat dad to a special outing, such as golfing, eating out or heading to a sporting event ($2.3 billion vs. $2 billion in 2011).  They will also invest in electronic gift items ($1.7 billion vs. $1.3 billion last year) and apparel ($1.7 billion vs. $1.4 billion in 2011). Others will splurge on gift cards ($1.7 billion), sporting goods ($641 million) and books or music ($645 million).

When it comes to the number of men people plan to buy for this Father’s Day, the survey found consumers are likely to consider a variety of “types” of dads this year. Most people will buy for their father or stepfather (53.9% vs. 50.3% in 2011) and their husband (29.2% vs. 26.1% last year). Others will treat their son (9.7%), grandfather (5.3%), brother (6.8%) and friend (5.7%) to something nice.

Mobile shoppers will be out and about these next few weeks as they seek the perfect gift for dad. More than one-quarter of those who own a tablet (25.2%) say they will use their tablet to make a Father’s Day purchase. Overall, more than half (54.6%) of tablet owners will use their device to research products and compare prices, redeem coupons and look up retailers’ information such as store hours and location.
Not surprising, the majority of smartphone owners will use their smartphone to research gift ideas and compare prices (26.7%), but others will look up store hours and location information (18.9%) and use apps to research or purchase products (11.3%). One in 10 (13.7%) will purchase a Father’s Day gift via their smartphone.