Dads everywhere have a big weekend to look forward to. With Father's Day spending expected to hit a record $16 billion, fathers can expect meals, gifts, cards, gift cards, clothing, and much more.
Father's Day, however, may not be something that gift-givers spend a lot of time thinking about. In many cases, consumers wait until the last minute. That's according to data pulled from more than 50 million active Bank of America credit and debit cards during June, July, and August of 2018.
"Americans focused celebrations on dad the day before Father's Day last year, with spikes in restaurant and drug store spending as consumers likely bought last-minute cards and treated dads to a meal," said Bank of America credit card executive Jason Gaughan in an email to The Motley Fool.
Where is the big spending happening?
Restaurant spending on the Saturday before Father's Day was 41% higher than the average day in 2018, according to the Bank of America data. Spending was only up 36% on the holiday itself, with spending coming in at $41 -- 36% higher than the average day.
Restaurants were not the only businesses that benefited from a big increase in spending the day before Father's Day. Drug stores saw total transactions and spending on the day before the holiday come in at 9% above the average day in 2018, which Gaughan attributed to people "looking to grab cards and gifts for dad." Father's day itself saw drug store spending come in at 14% below average, perhaps because more consumers were out to eat.
The average person plans to spend $139 on Father's Day this year, according to data from the National Retail Federation (NRF). That's much less than the $195 spent on Mother's Day this year, but it's an increase on Father's Day spending last year.
While drug stores will get a boost on the day before the holiday, department stores lead the way, with 39% of consumers expected to shop at one for the holiday, according to the NRF. That's followed by online (34%), discount stores (24%), specialty stores (23%), specialty clothing store (11%), and catalog (2%).
"Over half (57%) of smartphone/tablet owners plan to use their device to assist in Father's Day gifting decisions, with 38% using their mobile device to research products and compare prices," according to the NRF.
What should you do?
Don't wait until the last minute. It's already too late to get prime reservations, but it's likely possible to find an appropriate place to celebrate dad. Of course, you don't even have to go out, as Father's Day is one of the summer's biggest holidays for barbecues.
When it comes to gifts, stay within a sensible budget, and maybe don't wait until the day before to haphazardly buy dad a gift card. Find the father or fathers in your life meaningful gifts. That doesn't have to mean spending a lot of money. It just requires thinking a bit about what gesture the dad or dads on your list will appreciate most.