Blog > Research & Surveys > What It Takes for a Truly Happy Mother’s Day – A Comprehensive Report

What It Takes for a Truly Happy Mother’s Day – A Comprehensive Report

Last Updated on August 24, 2023 by Carla Jonas

For 364 days out of the year, moms put up with it all, from managing stressful jobs and juggling
busy schedules to planning activities and organizing family outings. But a happy Mother’s Day should be a day when loving, nurturing, hardworking moms across the country are showered with the love, attention, and gifts they deserve.

And nobody knows mom like her children. Who better to tap into mom’s passions, interests, hobbies,
and style to pick out the perfect gift for a happy Mother’s Day?

In theory, kids should have Mother’s Day down pat. In practice, not so much. At least that’s what many
moms had to say in a recent survey by The Pearl Source.

Turns out, many kids don’t know their moms all that well. As a result, mom ends up with the same old
pharmacy or grocery store flowers year in and year out. What’s more, moms across the country know
their kids are mailing it in!

The Mother’s Day Shopping Rush

Mother’s Day raked in $25 billion in spending in 2019, $5 billion more than Valentine’s Day, according to The National Retail Federation, but far from the $69 billion shelled out on Black Friday weekend last year. In terms of consumer priority, Mother’s Day isn’t exactly top of the list.

Methodology and Audience Breakdown

We surveyed 1,000 sons and daughters of all ages in the U.S. to see how well they really knew their mom…and then compared their answers with 1000 moms nationwide. Think The Newlywed game, only with moms and kids. Do the kids really know what a happy Mother’s Day entails?

SECTION 1 – The Kids

Mama knows best. Kids? Not so much.

How Well Do You Know Mom?

We’re lucky our phones double as our calendars, otherwise we might miss Mother’s Day altogether. Over 50% of respondents didn’t know when Mother’s Day was this year. But 90% of our respondents can pat themselves on the back for knowing when their mother’s birthday was. Still, that leaves 10% who said they couldn’t remember their own mother’s birthday without looking at a calendar. Ouch!


Over 35% of our respondents didn’t know their mother’s favorite restaurant, and nearly 40% didn’t know her favorite flower, a detail kids might want to have handy given their Mother’s Day plans (more on that later). Out of all respondents, 31% didn’t know their mother’s favorite color, either.

Turns Out, Mother’s Day Isn’t for Planners

Over 60% of respondents said they were planning to purchase their gift the week of Mother’s Day, with 27% planning to buy it a day or two before Mother’s Day. Those planning to get the gift a month or more in advance? Just 6%.

“Mama’s Boys” Ain’t What They Used to Be.

Daughters barely eke out a win out over sons when it comes to knowing their mother best.

By a hair, a higher percentage of women said they knew when Mother’s Day was, and said they knew their mother’s birthday,favorite color, restaurant, and flower.

Women were also more likely to buy their Mother’s Day gift ahead of time. Nearly 40% said they’d get their gift a few weeks or more before Mother’s Day, compared to 31% of men.

How Often Do You See Mom?

If mothers want to stay in touch with their children, phones are their best bet. A nudge over 50% said they talk to their mother daily, and nearly a quarter talk to their mother weekly.

But when it comes to face-to-face interaction, moms are out of luck. Only 12% of our respondents took their mother out for a meal within the last 30 days. And nearly 50% of our 1,000 respondents last took their mother out over a year ago.

Mother’s Day Plans

What do kids have in store for mom this year?

Basically, flowers…and not much else.

Over 70% of our respondents said they’re planning to buy a Mother’s Day gift. As for what they’re buying, we let respondents choose up to three options. Here are the top 5 results.

Flowers are quite the common gift for Mother’s Day, and less than half of the gift-givers said they would take their mothers out for a meal. And who can we expect to shower their mother with love and gifts?

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That depends. Are they married?

Hitched? Mom Is Second Fiddle.

We saw a clear distinction between respondents who were married and unmarried. Unmarried respondents were clearly more committed to moms.

Respondents who were unmarried were more likely to talk to their mother and take their mother out for dinner more often.

While the most common gifts didn’t differ much between married and unmarried respondents, a higher percentage of unmarried respondents said they’d get their mother a gift for the holiday. Furthermore, unmarried respondents were also more likely to buy more than one gift.

Here are how the two audiences stacked up.

SECTION 2 – Mom’s Weigh In

A Mother’s Day Gift Guide

Gifts Only a Mother Could Love

If you thought flowers, candy, and a microwave for the home made for a great Mother’s Day gift, think again. If you really want to put a smile on your mother’s face, we recommend paying close attention to this section.

Mothers, for the most part, said they really only liked their gifts because they came from their kids. Nearly half of all mothers polled stated as much, and 23% outright said they didn’t like their gifts at all (but would never tell their kids how they truly felt).

Over 40% of moms said they thought their kids bought them a Mother’s Day gift just to check it off the list; nearly 30% fessed up to returning last year’s Mother’s Day gift; and, ever the sweetest, nearly 90% of moms said they felt guilty about returning those gifts.

Those Flowers Aren’t Cutting It for a Happy Mother’s Day

As is to be expected, mothers are smart enough to know what you’re planning to get them. When asked to choose up to three gifts they’d expect to get on Mother’s Day, these were their top three guesses.

But is that even what they want?

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What a Mother Wants (and Doesn’t Want)

Despite kids’ propensity to buy flowers – and mom’s expectation of receiving flowers – moms actually
want everything but flowers! Here’s how moms responded when asked what gifts they wish they’d stop getting.

What should you get instead? We asked moms that same thing. Here’s what they said.

Kids, your best bet is to buy her some jewelry, tech, or a nice massage. Just stay away from flowers, clothes (let’s be honest, you’ll probably get her the wrong size and color), and home appliances.

Mother’s Day Can Still Be Special

In the end, there’s quite a division between moms and kids when it comes to Mother’s Day.

In summary? Mom’s seem to be growing tired of the same old-same old. And kids, for their part, don’t seem to have the answers (flowers ain’t it).

And while moms are likely to receive your gift with a smile, wouldn’t it be better if you earned that smile with a gift mom really wanted? So down with the flowers and in with the tech and jewelry. Consider a new phone and a nice necklace (and it wouldn’t kill you to take her out to dinner a little more often.)

Whatever you do, make sure to put some effort into it. Mom deserves it – so Happy Mother’s Day!

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Carla Jonas