Summer holiday season is upon us: Mother’s Day, Memorial Day, Father’s Day and July 4th. To gauge how consumers are feeling about the potential impact that the pandemic and vaccination efforts will have on celebrations, Numerator, a data and tech company, has released a new holiday sentiment study.
Overall, American consumers are expecting a return to normal holiday celebrations (free of COVID-19 restrictions) later in 2021. Nearly a quarter of consumers (24%) said they have already celebrated at least one 2021 holiday normally, and nearly three in five (59%) expect a return to normalcy on or before the 4th of July.
First "Normal" Holiday Expectation
% of Consumers
% of Consumers
Earlier (already celebrating normally)
Cinco de Mayo
4th of July
2022 or Later
Percentages rounded to the nearest whole number.
Readiness for holiday "normalcy" varies based on vaccination level. Consumers who don't plan to get the vaccine were twice as likely to say that they're ready to celebrate holidays on a larger scale, and 57% said that they're ready to celebrate holidays normally. In contrast, fully vaccinated consumers are the most cautious group, with 36% saying that they'll ease back into normal celebrations, and 16% planning to stick to small-scale celebrations for the foreseeable future, even after restrictions are lifted.
Consumer Intent: Post-COVID Holiday Approach
(% of consumers by vaccine status)
Plan to Get Vaccinated
Do Not Plan
Ready to celebrate holidays on a larger scale
Ready to celebrate holidays normally
Plan to ease back into normal celebrations
Plan to stick with small-scale celebrations
For Mother's Day, one in three (33%) expects to celebrate the day normally this year, but most (67%) still expect a COVID impact. Other findings include:
- Mother's Day gift-giving intentions are lower than in previous years, with 43% of consumers planning to buy gifts in 2021, versus 53% in previous years.
- Of those planning to buy gifts, the top five gifting categories are flowers (49% of gift givers), gift cards (42%), food/drinks (19%), apparel (18%) and jewelry (13%).
- Pandemic-style celebrations will continue this Mother's Day, with consumers 29% less likely to see their mothers in person and 23% more likely to call or video chat.
- Consumers are 55% less likely to go out for food or drinks to celebrate Mother's Day this year, but 15% more likely to order food for takeout or delivery.
For Memorial Day, nearly three in 10 (29%) expect holiday plans to be unaffected by the pandemic, though consumers are still 51% less likely to travel versus previous years. Among the study's other findings:
- Grilling/barbecuing and gathering with family/friends are expected to remain the top celebration methods, though both are expected to see decreases in 2021, as consumers remain cautious regarding large gatherings. Consumers are 15% less likely to grill or barbecue in 2021 than in previous years and 27% less likely to gather with family and friends.
- Consumers are 31% more likely to order food/drinks for takeout or delivery — the only celebration method that saw an increase from previous years.
- Fewer consumers plan to buy grills (51% in previous years versus 35% in 2021) or grilling materials (29% versus 13%) than in years past.
Meanwhile, for this year's Father's Day, two in five consumers (40%) expect their plans to be unaffected by COVID, the highest of any spring or summer holiday to date. Further findings include:
- Similar to Mother's Day gifting intentions, a little more than a third (36%) of consumers plan to give their father a Father's Day gift, down from nearly half of consumers (47%) in previous years.
- The top five Father's Day gifting categories are gift cards (53% of gift givers), apparel (35%), food/drinks (22%), electronics (11%) and sporting goods (10%).
- Also in line with Mother's Day findings, consumers are 25% less likely to see their fathers in person this Father's Day and 21% more likely to call or video chat.
- Going out for food/drinks is expected to see the most significant decline among Father's Day celebration methods, with 15% of consumers expecting to do so in 2021, down from one-third of consumers (33%) in previous years.
The Numerator 2021 Q2 Holiday Survey was fielded on April 19 to 3,964 consumers.
Numerator is a data and tech company bringing speed and scale to market research. Based in Chicago, Numerator has more than 2,400 employees worldwide. The company blends proprietary data with advanced technology to create unique insights for the market research industry .