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It’s officially May and officially spring, which means marketers are now turning their focus to planning for the next big consumer holidays, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. For decades, there hasn’t been a lot of fluctuation in audience purchase behavior around these holidays – flowers for Mom and a tie or tools for Dad (with cards and brunch for them both) – and brand marketing pretty much followed the same path.  

As millennials aged into consumers, their gift-giving/purchaser behavior – especially via mobile – has irrevocably changed the marketer handbook. Savvy brands, who are leveraging a mobile-first strategy, have quickly realized that there is huge market potential in attracting the Mother’s Day and Father’s Day consumer.

In fact, 84 percent of Americans will be celebrating Mother’s Day this year and plan to spend an average of $180 per person. Unsurprisingly, given the influx of millennial purchasers, this Mother’s Day is expected to deliver the highest consumer spending to date. For Father’s Day, 77 percent of Americans plan on celebrating the occasion and, in 2018, consumer spending reached $15.3B. With nearly 50 percent of smartphone users leveraging their devices to make purchase decisions for Father’s Day, there’s a significant market opportunity here for the taking.

Despite this huge opportunity, marketers are still struggling to completely capitalize on it. Consumers are worried about how their personal data is collected and used, with a recent survey by IBM Institute for Business reporting that 81 percent of consumers have become more concerned over how companies use their data, and 87 percent think companies should be more heavily regulated on personal data management.

While these concerns might seem insurmountable, instead of relying on third-party data, marketers can plan their Mother’s Day and Father’s Day activations based on insights drawn from a holistic view of their consumer’s mobile user journey with quality consented first-party data. The benefit of understanding a consumer’s mobile user journey after they provide explicit consent, in addition to minimizing concerns over their data, is that it provides marketers with a clear path to purchase. Who is shopping for Mother’s Day? Who is shopping for Father’s Day? Where are they purchasing? When is it happening?   

Not all gift givers are the same

Marketers should take a tip from Mom and Dad. Just like their children, each one of their consumers is special. There are no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to the Mother’s Day or Father’s Day shopper. While there are some shoppers who will do their gift buying at a retailer, a significant number will opt to spoil Mom and Dad with a nice meal. Great news for fast casual restaurants.

Holistic, consumer-destination views help identify your ideal shopper

We identified that a significant number of Americans plan on celebrating Mother’s Day and Father’s Day (84 percent and 77 percent, respectively). While it’s a big opportunity, it presents a challenge to brand marketers: how can they be sure that their brand or store is relevant to consumers leading up to these gift-giving occasions? Mobile user journey data is extremely useful in this case because it reveals intent.

Everyone has a routine on their phone, and those routines produce behavioral insights. Looking at Ogury Active Insights, we can see that Target app users also engage with cost-saving apps like Ibotta and Shopular, and they also engage with fast food apps like Little Caesar’s and Dunkin’ Donuts. By looking at users of the OpenTable app, we can see that they engage with travel apps like Fly Delta and United, as well as ticketing apps like Ticketmaster and StubHub. Data from those two profiles alone allows markets to make some educated decisions when trying to determine who may be attracted to their brand.

Looking at the insights on Target app users, we can deduce that their customers prioritize deals and value in their purchases, and that they are most active on Sundays. Whereas the OpenTable users might be making plans on the fly. This insight can help marketers determine the types of incentives to help attract customers.

Timing varies:

Keeping planners and improvisers in mind, insight into the pace of purchasing can help marketers plan for a successful activation. Retail purchasers took more of a long tail approach when shopping around the holidays. Looking at the mobile journey data, retailers like Kohl’s and Target saw peak engagement on the weekend before Mother’s Day. Father’s Day saw a shorter window, with the Wednesday and Friday before the holiday showing peak engagement.

When compared with dining behavior, marketers get a clearer picture of the audience. For example, OpenTable engagement peaks on the Friday before Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, while NoWait peaks on the day of both holidays. Retailers can plan for successful activations in the days leading up to each holiday, while restaurant brands could feasibly run their most successful activations on the actual day.

While Mother’s Day and Father’s Day have traditionally been lower in priority compared to the second quarter holidays like Easter, fresh insights show that there’s a significant amount of opportunity for brand marketers to tap into. By clearly illustrating who these consumers are, where they are making their purchases, and when these purchases happen.

Ogury’s MJM Cloud helps refine these insights into actions, all while providing full data control to the user. Interested in leveraging quality consented first-party mobile journey data to reach your shoppers this Mother’s Day and Father’s Day? Reach out to me at

Kevin Fitzgerald, Head of Insights, US

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