Australian mums speak: Guidance on gifts this Mother's Day

Friday, May 06, 2016

As Australians, we love the chance to give back to our mothers, especially on Mother’s Day. For many Australians, Mother’s Day is regarded as the most meaningful special day, superseding the importance of Valentine’s Day and Father’s Day.

Choosing the right gift on Mother’s Day isn’t always an easy task. Our time-poor schedules often act as a deterrent to activating the genuine, heartfelt generosity we feel towards our mums. In a recent nationwide study of 1,008 respondents, we asked 323 mothers around Australia what they really want this Mother’s Day.

Mums most desired gift is ‘something for her’


This Mother’s Day, mums would most like to receive something for them personally (20%) or something hand-made (15%). This aspect highlights the non-materialistic nature of mums generally, and that for mums, Mother’s Day isn’t about getting more stuff but about the experience and about the thought and intention behind the gift.

The least desirable categories of Mother’s Day gifts according to mums themselves is something for the home (5%) and least of all, something that can be used for cooking or cleaning (2%).

“Interestingly, flowers, which people often think to buy when Mother’s Day approaches, is one of the least desirable gifts for mums, so we may need to reconsider. Mums also don’t want something that will just sit around the home, and they certainly aren’t hoping for another appliance related to domestic duties.” – Mark McCrindle.

Aussie’s on point with gifts for mum


This Mother’s Day, Australians will most likely be gifting their mums with something for her (10%), which we know is what most mothers would like to receive. We will also be gifting our mums with something for her home (10%), however we know this is lower down on her wish list. At least only 5% plan on buying our mums an appliance she can use!

Avoid gifts that create more work!


When asked about the worst gifts ever received for Mother’s Day, mothers repeatedly said that the worst ‘gifts’ they had received are ‘no-gifts’ – having their spouse/children give unappealing or dying flowers, not receiving a gift or receiving only a card.

In a more tangible sense, there were a number of gifts that mothers received that were undesirable, including:

“A Toilet Seat.”

“Toiletries gift basket.”

“A pet rock.”

Gifts that show you don’t know your mother, such as buying her earrings when her ears aren’t pierced, gifts that show it was a last minute purchase and gifts that create more work for her are also likely to be listed on the ‘worst received list’ by Aussie mums.

“I gave her flowers- she is allergic.”;

“I forgot [Mother’s Day] and just took something from my grandmother’s collection.”

“[I gave] some flowers that were not as fresh as they could have been, they were limp by Sunday and died within a couple of days.”

“I gave her a saucepan – it was very expensive but she hated it!”

Mums are gracious, after all


What showcased itself most clearly in our research is that mothers are unconditional in their love and appreciate every gift. Mothers also noted that oftentimes, while not being overly enthusiastic about a particular item, they treasure any gift as an expression of their children/spouse’s love for them:

“I love every gift given to me as it's specially chosen for me by my precious children and hubby.”

“No gift is bad because it is something the kids think is great hence you think it’s great regardless – they buy it out of love.”

“Anything given with love is fantastic.”

Mothers are the Most Influential Life-Shapers

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Mothers are more influential in shaping the lives of everyday Australians than fathers, spouses or partners, siblings, and even best friends. A recent McCrindle study confirms that mothers don’t just raise their children, but shape their identities and define who they become.

Mum is most influential role model for more than half of Australians

More than half of Australians (52%) say that their mother is the single biggest influence on shaping where they come from and who they are today, and 4 in 5 (79%) put their mum in their personal Top 3 Most Influential Persons list.

Social researcher Mark McCrindle says, “Their role is not just in raising us but in shaping us. The impact of mums in Australia is highlighted by the fact that they are the most significant person in shaping who we have become – ahead of friends, community leaders, other family members and even spouses. While mothers are often thanked for their protecting and providing role in the lives of young children, it is their life-training and identity-shaping that has the most lasting impact.”

“This research shows that mothers are not only nurturers and supporters but for the majority of Australians, they are also the biggest life-shapers.”

Mum influential not just for women, but men, too

While 56% of women said their mum had had the biggest influence on their lives, men weren’t far behind – 1 in 2 men (48%) state their mum had the largest influence on their lives, and 4 in 5 (79%) of men put mum in their Top 3 Most Influential Persons list – the same as females!

Mother, then father, then a spouse or partner

For many Australians, if they were to choose the Top 3 influencers in shaping who they have become, they would list their mother, their father, and their spouse or partner – in that order.

Mum’s impact just as strong for emerging generations

Despite the proliferation of technology that has facilitated opportunities for influence by those beyond immediate family and friendship structures, younger generations report being even more shaped by their mothers than older generations – 52% of Gen Ys (20-34) and 54% of Gen X (35-49) report their mother as their biggest influencer, compared to 50% of Baby Boomers (50-68) and Builders (69+).

Mark McCrindle states, “In a world of social media, technology influences and marketing saturation, it is encouraging to see that the influence of mums has gone up, not down with the emerging generations. In fact with children staying at home later in life than the past, the role of mums is not only greater, but their influence extends longer as well.”

Results based on a nationally representative survey of 1,019 responses conducted by McCrindle in April 2014.

Click here to download the research summary.

1 in 5 Aussie mums to go without gifts this Mother's Day

Thursday, May 09, 2013

Almost 1 in 5 Australian mothers will not receive a gift this Mother’s Day, as 18% of respondents admit they have no intention of purchasing their mums a gift.

Our recent nationwide survey of 580+ respondents and 260+ mothers showed that some Australians are spot-on in their anticipated Mother’s Day purchase while others have missed the mark.

The most desired gift that mothers expressed – a gift for them personally, such as pampering or beauty treatments – is also the gift that Australians will go for more than any other, with 13% choosing this type of gift. On the flip side, while only 7% of mothers would like something for their home – such as flowers and décor – more than 1 in 10 Australians will opt for these items as their gift of choice.



Most Desired Gifts this Mother’s Day


Mothers responded that their most desired gifts (chosen by 26% of all respondents) was something for her personally – whether pampering, hair styling, a massage, nail treatments, or beauty products. Next in line was something she could spend (15%) such as cash or a store voucher, and something she could wear (13% – i.e. jewellery, clothes or accessories). The least desirable categories included something she could use (cooking, cleaning, gardening, or sewing implements, at 7%), something for her home (flowers, décor, at 7%), and least of all, something she could consume (wine, gourmet foods and chocolate, at 3%).



If ever there was a gift that was explicitly put forward, it was time with family and the alleviation of everyday household tasks:

“I would love the company of my children, a meal with my family… for my kids to be with me!”

“A cooked meal or a job that needed to be done around my home, to have a day off from home duties would be nice.”

Thoughtfulness and love-filled gestures were also appreciated:

“I want nothing material, just breakfast in bed and a picnic.”

“I would most like a card with thoughtful words, or a photo of my children all together.”


Download the Mother’s Day research summary for the full report!
Click here to download the report

Australian Mums Speak: Worst Mother's Day Gifts

Thursday, May 09, 2013

As Australians, we love getting the chance to give back to our mothers, especially on Mother’s Day. Mother’s Day is regarded as the most meaningful special day by Australians, superseding the importance placed on Remembrance Day, Valentine’s Day, and even Father’s Day. In fact, almost half of Australians rank Mother’s Day as their most significant special day of the year (excluding public holidays).

The first Mother’s Day in Australia was held in 1924, several years after it first began in the US in 1908. Interestingly, while 168 countries celebrate Mother’s Day as an established tradition, just over half of those countries (51%, Australia included) celebrate Mother’s Day do so on the second Sunday of May. Other countries have adapted an alternate date linked to women through historical significance or religious significance.

Choosing the right gift on Mother’s Day isn’t always an easy task. Our time-poor schedules often act as a deterrent to activating the genuine, heartfelt generosity we feel towards the woman most dear to us! In a recent nationwide study of 580+ respondents, we asked 260+ mothers around Australia what they really want this Mother’s Day.


Worst gifts given & received


Top 5 gifts to steer clear fromWhile mothers usually appreciate any gift given with love, it is evident that Australian mothers had opinions on the best and worst gifts for Mother’s Day.

When asked about the worst gifts ever received for Mother’s Day, mothers repeatedly said that the worst ‘gifts’ they had received are ‘no-gifts’ – having their spouse/children forget the day altogether, not receiving a gift or only receiving only a card, or even having mother’s day plans cancelled at the last minute.

In a more tangible sense, there were a number of gifts that mothers received that were undesirable...


Gifts that show you don’t know your mother


According to our research, giving your mother earrings when her ears aren’t pierced, jewellery that she doesn’t like, a foot spa she finds uncomfortable, or scented powder she won’t enjoy are personal gifts that show that you simply don’t know your mother’s preferences.

In a similar way, giving an item she already has (whether it be candles, mugs, DVDs, or books) shows that children/spouses clearly haven’t done their homework or are familiar with her latest interests.

A mother’s preferred spending habits must also be taken into consideration. It is no use buying her an expensive item if the only memory she’ll have of the item is a reminder of the bills still to be paid now that her joint bank account has crossed into the red zone.

Our research showed that some children and spouses just didn’t know their mothers very well:

“I gave her a DVD she already owned.”

“I received earrings for pierced ears when I haven’t had pierced ears for over 10 years!”

“[I received] heaps and heaps of mugs! You only need so many.”


Gifts that show it was a last-minute purchase


As much as you might be tempted to rush to the shops on your way home from work on Friday to buy flowers which will be half wilted by Mother’s Day on Sunday – hold back! The last thing your mother will want is a hurried, last-minute, impersonal purchase.

Mothers reported that receiving an untactful gift from the school’s mother’s day stall, cheap quality personal care items from the corner chemist, or flowers from the grocery store that have a 24 hour shelf life were simple ‘no-nos.’ In a similar way, giving cheap chocolates is as big red light – if ever there are chocolate connoisseurs, it’s the mums, where quality counts!

Some last-minute gifts our respondents noted:

“Used perfume when I was little, I forgot [Mother’s Day] and just took something from my grandmother’s collection.”

“[I gave] some flowers that were not as fresh as they could have been, they were limp by Sunday and died within a couple of days.”


Gifts that create more work


As much as you might be tempted to be practical on Mother’s Day and give a gift that will get fair use, purchasing an item destined for more stress and sweat is simply in the no-go zone.

Mothers mentioned that some of their worst gifts had been items that simply created more work for them. Whether an iron, a vacuum cleaner, a saucepan, a rice cooker, a handmade coffee cup that didn’t hold its weight, a sponge, or a cross-stitch kit, these items were simply undesirable:

“I gave her a saucepan – it was very expensive but she hated it!”


Gifts that are bizarre or inappropriate


Think twice before purchasing your mother that latest gadget you and your mates have been eyeing up. Sometimes what you might buy for a close friend or your boyfriend/girlfriend just isn’t suitable for your mother!

Our mothers report that receiving plastic flowers, a plastic ice-cream scoop that doesn’t work, sticky tape dispensers, pre-loved salt and pepper shakers, scratch stickers, eggs, or picture frames just don’t fit the ideal gift this Mother’s Day.

“I received a cheap plastic ice-cream scoop too flimsy to do the job.”

In the same way, inappropriate clothing such as bras, underwear, socks, and slippers made it onto the worst list. Equally awful is clothing that is too small for her (which is a sensitive situation for anyone) or purchasing a gift such as a cleaning voucher (which is easy to misinterpret).

The take-home point is: If the item doesn’t seem of value, it most likely won’t show your mother that you deem her valuable!

“I bought my mother a specialty cake which had green mould under the icing.”


Mums are gracious, after all


What showcased itself most clearly in our research is that mothers are unconditional in their love and appreciate every gift. Mothers also noted that oftentimes, while not being overtly enthusiastic about a particular item, treasured a gift as an expression of their children/spouse’s love for them:

“I love every gift given to me as it's specially chosen for me by my precious children and hubby.”

“No gift is bad because it is something the kids think is great hence you think it’s great regardless – they buy it out of love.”

“Anything given with love is fantastic.”


Download the Mother’s Day research summary for the full report!
Click here to download the report

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