Blackfriar: Retailers get savvy ahead of Father's Day

60 per cent of Father's Day shoppers will head to Asda
60 per cent of Father's Day shoppers will head to Asda
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Father’s Day expenditure is forecast to reach £635m this year as Dads prepare to be spoilt this Sunday.

It is hard to miss the event as retailers on every high street bring the promotion to front of store, yet spare a thought for families who have lost their father or dads who won’t be receiving a card this year because they have lost a child.

GlobalData has highlighted a new retail trend of firms showing more sensitivity to customers who fall into this bracket.

Marks & Spencer, Superdrug and Menkind have emailed customers to ascertain if they want to receive communications promoting their Father’s day ranges. GlobalData said retailers are acting sensitively to ensure their customers are not receiving unwanted communications.

Zoe Mills, retail analyst at GlobalData, said this is a relatively new trend, but many retailers have already applied greater sensitivity around occasions and she expects to see more following suit in future especially around events such as Valentine’s Day which can be a sore spot for those without a significant other.

Grieving parents and children will be grateful that retailers are adopting a kinder attitude. Many consumers are already put off by the overt commercialisation of these annual events.

While shoppers will spend an extra £6.2m on Father’s Day this year compared with last year, they spend twice as much on Mother’s Day, according to GlobalData.

With all retail categories associated with Father’s Day expected to grow this year, cards and gift wrap is set to be the best performing category, with anticipated spend rising 1.4 per cent on 2018.

While fewer consumers participate in Father’s Day compared with Mother’s Day, the act of giving a card is easy for consumers to do without spending too much money given the strain on disposable incomes.

Ms Mills said the seasonal events calendar is now relatively clear, compared with earlier this year when Mother’s Day fell close to Easter and World Book Day, so retailers have focused promotional displays on Father’s Day, giving customers more opportunity to shop.

She said the gifting market is significantly smaller for Father’s Day, compared with Mother’s Day, but despite this the market is outperforming and forecast to grow marginally to reach £353m in 2019.

With retailers, such as Wakefield-based Card Factory, expanding gifting ranges particularly for these seasonal occasions, consumers now have greater access to low value gifting ranges.

Retail marketing agency Savvy said that just over half of shoppers (53 per cent) expect to buy something for Father’s Day. It forecasts that total expenditure on the event will reach £834m this year, up 4.4 per cent on 2018.

Alastair Lockhart, insight director at Savvy, said Father’s Day marks the end to a busy first half of calendar events for retailers, which has seen strong growth in events sales, significantly outperforming the overall market.

In line with other events this year, Savvy said discount retailers have stepped up activity and more shoppers are turning to social media for gift inspiration.

Savvy’s research showed that shoppers aged 18-24 are most likely to getting involved (75 per cent) followed by those aged 35-44 (66 per cent).

In terms of which of the big four retailers, 60 per cent of shoppers will head to Asda, 56 per cent will go to Sainsbury’s, 55 per cent to Tesco and 53 per cent to Morrisons.

A heartening 69 per cent agree that they “don’t mind spending more“ to make Father’s Day special.