Did you know that the rose is the official flower of Father’s Day?

Traditionally, sons and daughters used to wear a red rose in admiration of their father, or a white rose to remember their father who had passed. Today, Father’s Day traditions around the world look a little different. The holiday has grown to include brunch outings, picnics, BBQ’s and gift’s including tools, books, sporting equipment and experiences.

Due to the altered state of the world, Father’s Day 2020 will see the holiday experience more change than it has in recent years. For brands wanting to optimise their Father’s Day marketing strategy, they need first to understand consumer behaviour and shopping intent.

Rakuten Advertising data from Father’s Day 2019 shows that affiliate orders in the UK increased 22% Year-on-Year in the week leading to Father’s Day. Clicks also increased by 10%, and on average, Britons spent £65 when shopping for Dad.

The data also reveals that purchases made on the Friday and Saturday before Father’s Day increased 28% and 30% YoY respectively, while orders made on Wednesday, the most popular day to shop in 2018, rose by 13%. Though the Monday preceding Father’s Day 2019 was not the strongest performing day for purchases, it did experience the strongest growth of 31% YoY. This indicates that some consumers are shifting away from last-minute shopping and purchasing earlier than they usually would.

Analysing last year’s data to better understand shopping habits provides brands and their affiliate publishers with the data they need to best reach and engage consumers. However, 2020 is no ordinary year. This year Father’s Day comes at a time when the UK is coming out of lockdown. Though shops will be reopening from June 15th, the hospitality industry remains closed, and the way people traditionally celebrate will be different.

The UK faced a similar scenario earlier this year with Mother’s Day, with the holiday taking place as Britain entered lockdown. For brands, examining key learnings from Mother’s Day and incorporating them into their Father’s Day strategy will aid in driving campaign success.

With hospitality still closed, like Mother’s Day celebrations, many will be looking for alternate ways to celebrate Dad. During Mother’s Day, our network saw an increase in sales in the cards and stationery, and food and drink verticals. Brands and publishers in the UK can anticipate a similar trend leading into Father’s Day. By prioritising the promotion of these products to consumers, brands and publishers can engage those looking for alternatives to brunch.

Retail in the UK is expected to open the week leading into Father’s Day. While many consumers will be eager to get back in-store, online will remain to key to the way people shop. With concerns around shipping times and product availability, it is safe to assume that consumers will also shop earlier than usual to ensure their gifts arrive in time.

For brands, it’s important they continue to communicate shipping times and product availability with their customers and shoppers. Where possible offering complimentary or discounted express shipping and highlighting these promotions within PPC and social ads will work to engage consumers by providing additional value to their online experience.

As we saw last year, the Friday and Saturday prior to Father’s Day were the most popular day for shopping. This year we can anticipate that there will be many people who leave still their shopping to the last minute. To engage these consumers, brands have an opportunity to reignite their online-to-offline (O2O) strategies. As retail reopens, brands can incorporate online search efforts to offline strategies such as location extensions, to drive last-minute shoppers in-store.

The Rakuten Advertising UK affiliate network has also seen an increase in orders driven by coupon and voucher publishers as consumers remain savvy during lockdown. Twenty-four per cent of all Father’s Day sales in 2019 was driven by coupon and voucher publishers, further solidifying the publisher model as a successful one for brands during this period.

It’s worth noting that loyalty and cashback publishers drove the strongest performance during 2019, accounting for 30% of all sales. Similarly, the vertical experienced a 105% YoY increase during Mother’s Day 2020, while social media sales rose 125% YoY. The uptick in sales driven by differing verticals and platforms demonstrates the need for brands to embrace a diverse publisher mix, and leverage promotions across channels to drive success.

Father’s Day 2020 arrives at a strange time. Life in the UK is showing signs of slowly returning to normal, and there are many unknowns about what our post-lockdown norm will be. One thing is for certain, regardless of lockdown people will shop for their Dads. There is ample opportunity for brands to help consumers find the perfect gift.