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Does Dad really deserve an iPad?

It’s the time of year when retailers engage in the annual Dads and Grads promotional extravaganza, and Target is promoting the Apple iPad at $499 as a gift-giving solution.

The iPad appeared on a full-page ad in this week’s circular along with other Apple products such as the iPhone 4 and the iPod Touch.

Not that dads and grads wouldn’t want an iPad, and it never hurts to feature an item that shoppers can aspire to, but the iPad would appear to be out of the price range of most gift-givers, especially where Father’s Day is concerned.

Americans are poised to spend an average of $106.49 for Father’s Day, a 13% increase compared with $94.32 last year, but still well short of the $499 iPad, according to research sponsored by the National Retail Federation. Even mom doesn’t rate an iPad with the average Mother’s Day expenditure at about $140.73.

Total Father’s Day spending is expected to reach $11.1 billion, with consumer spending expected to be allocated to such special outings as golfing, eating out or going to the moves ($2.1 billion) followed by gift cards ($1.4 billion), home improvement, gardening tools or appliances ($1.4 billion) clothing ($1.4 billion), electronics ($1.3 billion), sporting goods ($653 million) books or CDs ($598 million) and automotive accessories ($593 million).

“Dad has always been content spending Father’s Day grilling in the backyard or shooting hoops in the driveway, but this year kids have bigger plans for him,” said Phil Rist, EVP strategic initiatives with BIGresearch, the firm that conducted the survey for NRF. “Shoppers are putting more thought into Father’s Day gifts and are seeking out the perfect personal, yet practical, gift to say thank you to the man who’s always been there for them.”

The survey of 8,344 consumers was conducted May 3 to 10, and although consumer intentions can occasionally differ materially from their actual behavior, the research results are said to have a margin of error of plus or minus 1%.

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