Of course you haven’t quite nailed down your Mother's Day shopping. I mean, you’ve got 48 hours until your due date and it’s only your mother we’re talking about here, after all.
Seriously, we’re not here to judge. We’re here to help. Consider this the BloomReach Guide to Mother’s Day Procrastination. First, don’t beat yourself up. You’re not a bad son or daughter. You’re just normal. It turns out people procrastinate. Shocker, I know. It’s not because you’re slothful, thoughtless, selfish or any of those things. It’s because you know if you wait until the very last minute, you are giving yourself every opportunity to come up with the most earth-shattering, head-turning, jaw-dropping, awesome Mother’s Day gift ever. And then you buy flowers. (Oh, and now would be a good time.) “It’s starting,” May Hsu, owner of the Fleur de Lis flower shop in Mountain View, was saying earlier this week. “Tomorrow and Friday will be super busy. Saturday, too.” Saturday? The day before Mother’s Day? Hsu, who’s run her Silicon Valley shop for 39 years, knows what the data show. Sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, husbands, wives, friends. We all put off until tomorrow what we could do today. “That’s our human nature,” Hsu says. “Doing taxes, it’s the same thing.” (Never, ever say that to your mother. Helping, remember?)
Our internal numbers at BloomReach give some indication that in our go-go world, mobile customers tend to focus on gift-giving about 48 hours in advance of a holiday. (We’ll exclude Christmas shopping for this exercise.) Take buying Easter gifts. Our numbers show that mobile orders for a key subset of traditional Easter presents peaked this year on Good Friday, increasing about eight times over the number of orders a week before Easter. Orders by laptop merely doubled during the week leading up to Easter, peaking on Thursday. Big planners, those desktop users. ( Here’s a look at some traditional go-to Mother’s Day gifts.) While waiting until the 48-hour mark to pull the trigger on mom’s gift could be taken as a sign that consumers aren’t putting a lot of careful thought into the whole thing, Hsu says Friday shoppers are practically early birds. The real desperate calls come on Saturday and even on the blessed day itself. Hsu says some of those callers will say, “If it can’t go out today, then I guess it’s OK for Monday.” No. No. No. It really isn’t. And Hsu tells them so. “I usually just give them a lesson,” she says. It’s tough love, but in the end, she’ll take the order and see that it gets there in time. “As a mother and a florist,” Hsu says, “I feel it’s my job. My job is to express how they feel.” It’s just that it would be a lot easier to express if Hsu had some advanced warning. But what are you going to do? A recent Shop.org report found that online retailers are pushing hard to accommodate procrastinators, emphasizing same-day delivery and shipping from nearby brick and mortar stores, which, of course, helps them compete, too. “Timely delivery is important to customers, especially during rush periods such as the holidays,” the report concludes. “One in five consumers whom StellaService surveyed during the 2013 holiday season said they expected their order to arrive in less than three days, up from 13% who expected this timeframe in mid-2013. In 2013, Adobe found that online orders for jewelry and gifts (e.g. chocolates) spiked in the days leading up to Valentine’s Day, putting significant pressure on retailers to deliver on time. Since Mother’s Day and Father’s Day lack the longer lead time running up to Christmas, these holidays may also see a degree of rush orders.”
The report included a number of disturbing gift-giving trends, particularly among millennials, that emerged during the 2013 winter holiday season. You’ll want to leave those trends to the trend-setters:
Nearly 12 percent of millennials bought a gift online and posted the news on the recipient’s Facebook Wall. Hint: posting on Mother’s Day that you’re getting mom a gift for Mother’s Day is not the same as getting mom the gift by Mother’s Day.
About 19 percent of millennials ordered online for in-store pickup. Hint: Don’t make mom go to the store to pick up her own gift.
About 27 percent of millennials personalized gift cards by adding a photograph to them. Hint: It’s still a gift card. Step it up a notch, bro.
But surely some mothers’ sons and daughters must be thinking about mom well before the last minute. Kids like Caitlin Whalen, 24, who was at the See’s Candies in Mountain View early in the week leading up to Mother’s Day. No doubt she was looking for the perfect treat for mom, right? “I haven’t even thought about that,’’ she says when I ask. No, the chocolates are a thank you gift, explains the recruiter at Ooyala, an online video management company. And mom? Hmmm. Maybe she’ll get her some jewelry or something. “It’s one of those Hallmark holidays,” Whalen says, explaining her lack of enthusiasm. “Everyone procrastinates.” Everyone but Steve Redig, who’d parked his truck outside See’s. The painter and wallpaper hanger, who was visiting from Oregon, said he was all set in the Mother’s Day department. “My wife actually has gotten stuff for my mother and is going to mail it,” says Redig, 59, who was in the valley to see his son and daughter-in-law. “So I’m off the hook, because my wife is not technically my mother.” OK, Redig gets a do-over. He was joking. Really. Sort of. Sure, he’ll get his wife, and mother of his children, something. Eventually. “Of course, I procrastinate,” he says of Mother’s Day gift-buying. “But I don’t think I’ve ever missed it.” So, he’s got that going for him. And maybe that’s where the bar is these days -- simply not blowing Mother’s Day altogether is a success. Is that so much to ask? Thought so. You’ve got 48 hours. Photo of roses by Shardayyy published under Creative Commons license. Infographics by Gerard Bao of BloomReach. Mike Cassidy is BloomReach’s storyteller. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter at @mikecassidy