Sorry, Mom: Mother’s Day Shoppers Are Waiting to the Last Minute

Mother's Dayflowers and gift

Many shoppers are no longer planning out their Mother’s Day gifts weeks in advance — they’re increasingly waiting for the last minute, expecting to have whatever they want still available.

In an interview with PYMNTS, Jim McCann, founder and chairman at 1-800, spoke to how the growing popularity of on-demand retail delivery platforms has led to rising demand for these eleventh-hour gifting options.

“[This year], I expect Mother’s Day will be crunchier. What I mean by that is, everything that people see around them tells them that you can do things at the last minute. You order a mop in the morning, and it’s delivered to your apartment in the afternoon,” McCann said.

He noted that consumers expect to be able to get their demands met on a “more and more last-minute” basis, getting into the habit of buying when they want or need something rather than planning ahead.

“People tend to expect that they can come to us Friday or Saturday of Mother’s Day weekend, and we’ll still have capacity,” McCann said, noting that the company typically is able to meet this last-minute demand, but not in all markets.

Notably, PYMNTS Intelligence research finds that, amid ongoing economic challenges, many consumers are actually being more deliberate about how they purchase gifts, per the February installment of the “Consumer Inflation Sentiment” series, the “Consumers Cautiously Spend More Amid Lower Inflation” edition.

The report, which drew from a survey of nearly 5,000 U.S. consumers, revealed that, when buying gifts for others, 55% of respondents had decided what to buy for most or all gifts before going out to shop. Plus, 52% said they paid more attention to prices than when they made other everyday non-holiday purchases.

The COVID Flower Boom

The company operates three segments — its titular flower business, its giftable foods business and its personalized products business. The former saw a major uptick in adoption during lockdown, with consumers looking for ways to make their own and others’ lives at home more special. Even as consumers have gone back to their day-to-day lives, the company has retained much of this surge in interest.

“In the last two years when retail, restaurants, travel and other businesses opened back up, we’ve fallen off a little bit,” McCann said. “We’re still 70% above our pre-COVID levels, but not 100%.”

Indeed, PYMNTS Intelligence’s 2020 “Pandenomics” study,  The Emerging Post-COVID-19 Consumer: Mapping The Evolution Of Consumers’ Shifting Payment Preferences, found that the share of consumers who had shifted to digital channels for retail purchases skyrocketed from 12% in March 2020 to 42% in September. Plus, 84% of online retail shoppers reported expecting to retain some or all of their digital behavior.

Looking ahead, 1-800 aims to capture more of this opportunity by taking more of a specialized third-party marketplace approach, supplementing its own inventory with products from external providers.

“One of the things that we realized through COVID is that there are products out there that we should have available to our customers that we don’t make, and more and more we’re open to that idea,” McCann said. “So, we’re curating and bringing in third-party products more than we’ve ever done before.”