Article written by Norrelle Goldring

So here we are, Mother’s Day CXII (112).

According to the National Library of Australia, the first Mother’s Day was celebrated in 1910, just two years after Anna Jarvis founded it in the USA. Interestingly, its founder later denounced the perceived commerciality of the occasion. Nevertheless, fast forward 100 or so years and 83 per cent of Americans in 2021 planned to celebrate Mother’s Day, setting record occasion spending levels at a planned USD$220 per shopper for the occasion – 49 per cent planned an outing and 68 per cent planned to buy flowers. Back on home soil, a 2021 Finder study indicated that 62 per cent of shoppers planned to buy their mum a gift, with a planned spend of $102, and unsurprisingly flowers the top planned gift at 26 per cent.

The gap between what shoppers buy and what mums want

Whilst the Finder study showed the top three planned gifts were flowers, chocolates and cards, these aren’t necessarily what mums want. A McCrindle study listed the top five ‘worst’ gifts as being “cheap chocolates, flimsy flowers, ugly underwear, trivial trinkets, and any appliances.”

Whilst flowers and chocolates are traditional, and easy for the shopper, to mum they demonstrate a lack of thought and effort. Anything cheap denotes mum not being valued, and any appliance just means chores or work. But whilst 25 per cent of US Mother’s Day gift shoppers, according to a National Retail Federation study, look for a gift that’s convenient to the buyer and a further 15 per cent look for what’s cheapest, somewhat hearteningly 44 per cent were looking for unique gifts and 40 per cent gifts that create a special memory.

Mums appreciate gifts that show thought, time, effort, and knowledge of their preferences. Complicating all this is that shoppers may be buying for more than one ‘mum’, such as their partner’s mum, and may not know the other mums they are buying for to the same level as their own.

So where does this leave liquor as a Mother’s Day gift, and what are the opportunities?

There’s obviously an opportunity to buy what the shopper knows mum drinks, whether that’s sparkling, Baileys, or even no or low alcohol wines. However, whilst that shows knowledge of mum’s preferences, it can still be perceived as an ‘easy way out’, ‘lazy’ or last minute purchase. So there’s an opportunity to premiumise, to increase the perceived and actual spend, or find a more expensive or different expression of what mum drinks. In other words, highlight and display more premium products – sparklings, white wines, gin, vodka for instance – potentially in a dedicated gifting bay that can be used for subsequent gifting occasions such as Father’s Day.

There’s also an AWOP occasion if the shopper is buying for multiple mums. Not all mums are necessarily going to be Champagne drinkers – some may prefer gin, or Pinot Grigio. Or even if the mums are all sparkling drinkers, you could sell a variety four-pack or six-pack of sparklings (so that not all the mums in the family receive the same thing) and throw in some gift bags and boxes and bundle some upmarket mixers with the spirits.

Not just about gifts

The other obvious occasion surrounding Mother’s Day is lunch or brunch. And not just lunch at an on-premise venue (which can be a BYO opportunity in itself), given the continuing subdued levels of onpremise visitation, with some venues reporting traffic is still down 50 per cent versus pre-pandemic. So, we can reasonably expect a spike in off-premise sales for hosted events at home or, equally likely, outdoors in a ‘neutral’ space (weather permitting, particularly in the southern states).

There are a number of opportunities around these hosted Mother’s Day at home/outdoors events:

  • Something for mum to drink with lunch
  • Something for me to drink with lunch
  • Something for others to drink with lunch
  • Something for the host, if I’m not hosting
  • Something for me and others to drink later

Taken together, these point to a significant AWOP opportunity whether the shopper is the host or BYO-ing to someone else’s event. Examples might include pick ‘n’ mix six-packs and cases of wine or sparkling, or bundles of liqueurs and aperitifs all at varying price points.

There’s also a strong opportunity to be found if working with other vendors in the local area to put together hampers for picnic lunches including cheese, smallgoods, antipasti, bread and snacks, or putting together your own bundles of the same.

It may well be that there is an opportunity for dual Mother’s Day bays or zones – one for gifting, and the other for BYO lunch – promoted not only in-store but online and via socials, of course.

In short, it’s all about premiumisation and AWOP via bundling, in a themed zone that shoppers can immediately recognise and navigate. Happy Mother’s Day!

Find this story and more in the April issue of National Liquor News.

The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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