While some retailers promote stay-at-home gifts like electronics for Mother’s Day, 1-800-Flowers.com predicts an uptick in floral sales.

Whether at home or virtually, 86% of consumers still plan to celebrate Mother’s Day this year, according to the National Retail Federation’s annual Mother’s Day consumer survey. The total spending could reach $26.7 billion, NRF says, beating out last year’s estimated total spend of $25 billion.

78% say that celebrating Mother’s Day is important to them this year because of the coronavirus. And 66% plan to celebrate virtually if they cannot be with their mother on the holiday due to the pandemic. The NRF survey—conducted by Prosper Insights and Analytics—of 8,294 adult consumers occurred April 1-6, 2020.

Consumers are interested in spending about $8 more than last year this Mother’s Day for an average of $205 on gifts. Plus, as more consumers are stuck at home, they’re not sticking to the traditional flowers and gifts, NRF says. Consumers surveyed plan to buy housewares and gardening tools (25%), books (24%) and electronics (19%).

Electronics retailer Best Buy Co. Inc., No. 10 in the 2020 Digital Commerce 360 Top 1000, is marketing just that to shoppers for Mother’s Day. In an email with the subject line “Show your mom some love this Mother’s Day, May 10,” it advertised to consumers many electronics, such as record players, microphones, smart speakers, smart watches, projectors and more.

Marketing email from Best Buy


Similarly, Michaels.com (No. 192) is promoting stay-at-home crafts and activities to “make special memories together” in its Mother’s Day ad. But it still encourages mothers to “take it easy” with simple crafting.

Marketing email from Michaels

“Retailers should prioritize the marketing of ‘useful’ products,” says Ben Segal, vice president of Americas, of programmatic advertising and performance marketing company MainAd. “As lockdown measures extend and/or could be enforced again if the virus returns, consumers prioritize products that can improve their lives during quarantine.”


Flower sales may not wilt

Still, 64% of consumers plan to gift flowers this year, according to the NRF survey. Although that’s declined from 67% last year, flower retailer 1-800-Flowers.com Inc. (No. 66 in the Top 1000) expects its sales to blossom this Mother’s Day, despite the state of the world.

Mother’s Day is the largest floral occasion for 1-800-Flowers.com, the retailer says. Last year, it delivered more than 20 million stems for Mother’s Day, and its 2019 fiscal fourth quarter floral revenue grew 10.2% to $158.9 million thanks to Mother’s Day and Easter sales.

“We anticipate strong demand to help customers connect with the moms in their lives, which will be more important than ever this year,” says a spokesperson for 1-800-Flowers.com.


In its fiscal third quarter ended March 29—which also included Valentine’s Day, another important floral holiday—1-800-Flowers.com’s floral revenue increased 5.4% to $152.6 million, compared with $144.8 million in the prior-year period.

“The quarter would have been even stronger were it not for softer consumer demand in the last few weeks of March related to the impact of the COVID-19 crisis,” said CEO Chris McCann in an earnings statement. “We saw this pattern reverse as we entered our current fiscal fourth quarter and demand has increased significantly as consumers are increasingly turning to the 1-800-Flowers brand to help them express themselves and stay connected.”

Despite demand picking up, the coronavirus has impacted its floral arrangement fulfillment in unique ways. Aside from the orders the retailer fulfills itself, 1-800-Flowers.com works with “thousands” of professional florists as well as small business florists throughout the U.S.


While many of 1-800-Flowers.com’s suppliers are unable to provide the number of staffing needed to fulfill orders in a timely manner due to social distancing protocols, others are struggling to even receive consumer orders, the retailer says. So, it has introduced The Florist Support Program, which includes a package of broad relief measures to assist its small business florists during this time, including an Early Pay Program (getting paid 10 days earlier), providing a discount with orders placed through a wholesale floral provider and assisting with marketing services.

Additionally, 1-800-Flowers.com implemented contactless delivery for orders fulfilled by local florists, and shoppers can still place orders for delivery.

“As we navigate these trying and uncertain times…we continue to make the necessary changes across our operations, including manufacturing, warehouse and distribution, to ensure the safety and well-being of our associates while maintaining our business continuity,” McCann said. “As always, our mission is to engage with our customers to help them express and connect—sentiments that are increasingly important during this difficult time.”


Mother’s Day-themed philanthropy

Home improvement retailer Lowe’s Cos. Inc. (No. 22) continued its COVID-19-related philanthropic efforts with a Mother’s Day twist. It plans to donate $1 million in flower baskets from its network of local nurseries, particularly ones that have experienced slowing sales because of the pandemic. It is partnering with Uber to deliver the baskets to senior living centers in a dozen U.S. cities, such as New York City, severely affected by the pandemic.

“We are committed to supporting our small business partners during this difficult time, including our local nurseries and growers who have been impacted by the pandemic,” said Bill Boltz, Lowe’s executive vice president, merchandising in a press release. “These local small businesses are the backbone of our garden centers, and we are eager to continue investing in their long-term success.”

Lowe’s has already committed $250 million to COVID-19 relief, including $3 million to help support small businesses.