Breanna Harris hoped to find a Mother’s Day present Friday in the women’s apparel section at the North Augusta Belk department store.
“She likes shirts,” Harris said, “so I normally try to get her one of those. I got her shoes last year, so I was trying to get her something different this year.”
Harris started browsing for her mother two weeks ago, but said she typically waits until the week of the holiday to make any purchases. As in years past, Harris said she’d likely spend between $20 to $40.
“She doesn’t like us to spend much on her,” the North Augusta resident said.
While shoppers spent big in 2013 on high-tech gadgets like smart phones, tablets and cameras, many, like Harris will take a more practical approach this year and opt instead for greeting cards, flowers, apparel and accessories, according to the National Retail Federation.
Electronic purchases are expected to comprise a small percentage, about $1.7 billion, of the total $19.9 billion anticipated from Mother’s Day sales. That’s down from $2.3 billion last year.
The NRF found that the average shopper will spend nearly $163 on their mother, which falls short of last year’s record high of about $169.
The majority of consumers will head to a speciality or department store this year to make their Mother’s Day purchases, according to the NRF.
William Batte, who manages Belk in Martintown Plaza, said the store’s cosmetic, shoe and accessory departments get the most business from Mother’s Day shoppers, which tends to pick up closer to Sunday.
“We’ve definitely seen a shift in business this week and expect (Friday) and (Saturday) to be significantly more busy than the last couple of days,” he said. “Mother’s Day is definitely a lot more last minute than some other areas in the season.”
Martina’s Flowers and Gifts has been bombarded by Mother’s Day orders for roses, hydrangeas, lilies and orchids, said general manager Heather Colvin.
“Unusually, people are spending more money this year,” she said. “The average order is up, which is great.”
Colvin said customers are spending at least 20 percent more than they did last year. The Martinez floral store hired six additional designers and 20 extra weekend drivers specifically for the occasion.
Deliveries, which typically average between 50 and 75 during a normal week, bump up to about 350 for the week leading up to Mother’s Day. Most people choose to send floral arrangements earlier in the week, rather than on Sunday, Colvin said.
“Valentine’s Day is the busiest day,” she said. “This is the busiest week and then December is the busiest month.”
At La Dee Da, a home decor and gift shop in North Augusta, a special Mother’s Day sale on the Coton Color cookware and kitchen line has been popular with shoppers, who generally spend $50 to $100, said sales associate Donna Lamb.
“With Christmas being our biggest, this would be our next biggest,” Lamb said of what holiday brings in the most revenue. “Somebody’s always buying for a momma.”