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What to expect from a Mother’s Day during lockdown

May 7, 2020
Sandy Skrovan
Written By
Sandy Skrovan
This blog includes excerpts from a Forbes article published on May 6, 2020


Forbes recently published an article about how we may be celebrating Mother’s Day this year while minding stay-at-home and social distancing orders. The full article, authored by our own Sarah Hofstetter, President of Profitero, is available here.

The gist: Just how radically different gift-shopping for mom looks during the COVID-19 lockdown, especially when it is impossible to treat mom to brunch or a day at the spa. Some of these learnings apply equally as well to Father’s Day (coming up on June 21). So, brands should take heed and adjust eCommerce strategies and tactics accordingly.

Here are some excerpts from the article, which highlight trends in Mother’s Day gift-spending this year supplemented with some additional Profitero research.

1. Mother’s Day shopping started early this year — out of necessity

As excerpted from Forbes:

“U.S. consumers started their gift-shopping quest online earlier this year than in the past,” Hofstetter wrote. “Our data shows that searches for ‘mothers day gifts’ on shot up dramatically — +520% higher on average — during the past three weeks compared with the same period of time a year ago.

“Shoppers are buying early out of necessity. With many stores closed, there’s less opportunity to make last-minute purchases. Consumers must plan early, and they can’t take any chances with delivery given issues Amazon has had with shipping non-essential products. As Father’s Day approaches, brands need to take heed and make sure they are running campaigns and getting their product pages optimized months ahead,” according to Hofstetter.


Note: The U.K. holiday this year fell just when the country’s stay-at-home orders went into effect, and we found consumer searches for such terms as “toilet rolls” actually topping searches for “mothers day gifts.” Our data shows that unlike in the U.S. where consumers got an early jump on Mother’s Day gift shopping, in the U.K., spending was instead back-ended.

2. Traditional gifts like candy and beauty are making out great

As excerpted from Forbes:

“We can get an early indication of which products will sell the most on Mother’s Day by looking at what happened during Mother’s Day in the U.K., which was celebrated on March 22,” wrote Hofstetter. “Candy and beauty supplies were the top-selling products, seeing sales climb an average 138% and 65%, respectively, in the three-week runup to Mother’s Day.”

A similar trend — i.e., strong upticks in candy and beauty — is emerging in the U.S.: Popular Mother’s Day gift categories like “chocolate” and “beauty gift set” were searched 73 percent and 67 percent more frequently on in the past three weeks than during the same period a year ago.


3. Pampering categories are surging too

As excerpted from Forbes:

“Mother’s Day is typically a day when we treat moms to a fancy meal or spa out of the home. This year, consumers are giving their mom’s the gift of special treatment in the home,” wrote Hofstetter.

Profitero’s data shows some fairly substantial upticks in online searches in recent weeks for terms like “nail acrylic powder and liquid set,” “exfoliator for face,” and “relaxing gifts for women” (think home spa day) and “bowls for kitchen,” “kitchen utensils set” and “tea kettle stovetop” (think tea, and maybe breakfast in bed).

“This just goes to show the wide-reaching impact COVID-19 is having on purchasing behavior across all categories. More than ever, brands need to pay attention to early demand signals (like search behavior) and pivot quickly to get their products in the consideration set,” suggests Hofstetter.



4. Brands optimizing their digital content are winning

Amazon is not widely promoting Mother’s Day (or Father’s Day) in the U.S. this year, according to The Wall Street Journal. So, it becomes more important than ever for brands to do what they can to make their products stand out.

“One thing we often tell brands is to optimize product content for popular search terms,” Hofstetter wrote.

For example, we found chocolate brands Merci and Godiva using seasonally related search terms in some of their product titles. As a result, both brands saw increases in their organic share of page 1 for “chocolate box” searches, and their best seller rankings on



Hofstetter’s key takeaways as excerpted from Forbes: “eCommerce will be the true beneficiary of Mother’s Day’s spending this year, taking wallet-share from temporarily closed service-oriented businesses and brick-and-mortar stores. And the same will likely be true of Father’s Day.

“Brands have no choice but to elevate their digital game to win these key seasons. This includes investing in SEO and paid search advertising to get their brands at the top of search results, and closely monitoring inventory levels to ensure consumers can get products delivered. Brands that do so will not only see short-term sales benefits, they will be better favored by retailer search algorithms in the long run, well after the COVID-19 pandemic fades away.”


Contact Profitero to learn how you can get the eCommerce data and performance analytics you need to monitor and adjust your holiday and seasonal event strategies in real time.


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