Dads & Grads & Profits From Ads


Father's day blog

As we’ve seen throughout this series of blogs about promotions and your promotions calendar, there are opportunities to bring in incremental income all year long. Yes, the winter holiday season is the granddaddy of them all, but that doesn’t mean other seasons aren’t worth your time and effort.

Let’s take a quick look at what’s coming up—dads and grads. This year, Father’s Day is June 20. Having a hard-and-fast date on the calendar makes promotion planning easier. The graduation opportunity, on the other hand, lasts from somewhere in May (most colleges and universities) to somewhere in June (most high schools). It’s a bit more difficult to market to that gift-giving crowd because you need to sustain an advertising presence for about a month.

But, as we said, it’s worth it.

Billions of Dollars (Yes, Billions)

Father's day

The dads and grads shopping season isn’t just a good opportunity for marketers and brands; it’s a monster. Let’s start with grads.

As students mark the end of one chapter and begin the next, friends and family love to help them prepare by pouring on the gifts. The numbers are staggering.1

30% of respondents say they will buy a gift for a graduate this year.

They will spend an average of $112 each on grad gifts.

Total spending for graduation gifts in the U.S. in 2021 is expected to be $5.1 billion.

Of course that figure here in Canada is not quite that high, but there are still some significant dollars being spent.

What are those friends and family spending all that money on? Cash and cards top the list. But gift cards, clothing and electronics are close behind.

As enticing as graduation season sounds, Father’s Day is even bigger. In fact, 75% of those surveyed plan to celebrate Father’s Day this year. Here are a couple of numbers (are you sitting down?).2

Father's day card

Total spending for Father’s Day gifts in 2021 is expected to be US$17 billion.

Gift cards are taking a bigger piece of Dad’s pie.

The percentage of shoppers buying gift cards moved from 21% in 2019 to 25% in 2020.

The point of sharing these numbers is not to get you to shift all your marketing dollars to dads and grads. According to the National Retail Federation, there are even bigger opportunities out there. This year, Easter spending reached about US$21 billion and Mother’s Day spending topped off at US$28 billion.

But if you have the appropriate brand or products, dads and grads should be on the list.

Attracting Your Share of the Billions

Now that you’re aware of the opportunity, it comes down to the best ways to grab your share of that seasonal consumer spending before someone else does. And to do that, you need to give consumers what they want—value. So, here’s one more number for you.3

62% of consumers say they can’t even complete a purchase before searching around for some kind of offer.

In other words, people love promotions. They love getting more for their money. And, by the way, they also love gift cards. So, if you advertise a promotion with gift cards—like spend $50 on your grad (or dad) and get a $10 gift card for yourself—you’ll be way ahead of the pack.

We’re Here to Help

Whether for Father’s Day, graduation season or any other time of the year, the promotional experts at Blackhawk Network are standing by to help.

Just click here to get started or call 866.219.7533.


  1. 1. Annual Graduation Gift Survey, National Retail Federation, May 2020
  2. 2. Annual Father’s Day Survey, National Retail Federation, May 2020
  3. 3. RetailMeNot Incrementality Study, March 2018

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