Americans will once again shell out a tidy sum to honor their dads this Father's Day, but it will still trail what they spent for Mother's Day by nearly $8 billion, according to recently released data from the National Retail Federation (NRF).

Father's Day spending is expected to reach $15.3 billion in 2018. That would be its second-highest tally ever, just behind 2017, when it hit $15.5 billion. Still, it's well below the $23.1 billion the NRF believes was spent on Mother's Day last month. The difference stems from two factors: First, more people celebrate Mother's Day (86% of Americans versus 77%); and second, yes, on average, they really do spend more on mom ($180 compared to $133).

"We are pleased to see consumer confidence continue to rise, leading to another near-record holiday spend on Father's Day," NRF CEO Matthew Shay said in a press release. "Leading into the second half of the year, Americans are looking forward to treating their dads and retailers will be prepared to offer a variety of gift options that will create new memories on this special day."

A sign in a heart says happy Father's Day

Father's Day spending will hit near-record levels. Image source: Getty Images.

What is dad getting?

The good news for dad is that maybe he's not getting a tie or some other cheesy item he doesn't want. In fact, the largest share of the gift spending ($3.2 billion) will go towards "special outings" like tickets to a concert or sporting event, or dinner out. Nearly half of the individuals surveyed by the NRF (47%) said they planned to purchase something that fits that category.

Outings are trailed by clothing ($2.2 billion, 43%), gift cards ($2.1 billion 42%), and consumer electronics ($1.8 billion, 20%). Some 16% of respondents said dad was getting home improvement supplies ($878 million), and $844 million will be spent on greeting cards, which is pretty close to the $862 million that will go toward personal care products. The survey of 7,681 people also revealed that dads will also receive about $830 million in tools and appliances, $798 million in sporting goods or leisure items, and $628 million in books or music.

"Special outing gifts have steadily grown in popularity for Father's Day since their lowest point in 2009," Prosper Insights Executive Vice President of Strategy Phil Rist said. "These consumers, especially those between 18 and 24 years old, want to offer something to their dad's that is unique, thoughtful and allows for quality time on dad's special day."

A big day for dads

While many families consider Father's Day an important celebration, please remember: While dad might love a new lawnmower, front-row seats to Fleetwood Mac, or perhaps a trip to Vegas, he probably would want even more for his kids to make smart financial choices and stay within their means. So enjoy the day, honor the dads in your life, but also pay attention to your bottom line, and only spend what you can afford.

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