American consumers expect return to normalcy by July 4

Numerator, a data and tech company serving the market research space, has launched a new holiday sentiment study to understand the impact of the pandemic and vaccination status on upcoming holidays, and specifically, how people plan to celebrate, shop and spend for Mother’s Day, Memorial Day, and Father’s Day 2021.

The sentiment survey of nearly 4,000 consumers shows the following key findings:

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%) say they have already celebrated at least one 2021 holiday normally, and nearly 3 in 5 (59%) expect a return to normalcy on or before the 4th of July. 

First “Normal” Holiday Expectation

Holiday% of Consumers 
(by Holiday)
% of Consumers 
Earlier (already celebrating normally)24%24%
Cinco de Mayo1%25%
Mother’s Day14%39%
Memorial Day 4%44%
Father’s Day2%46%
4th of July14%59%
Labor Day3%62%
New Year’s1%87%
2022 or Later13%100%
Percentages rounded to the nearest whole number.

Readiness for holiday “normalcy” varies based on vaccination level. Consumers who do not plan to get the vaccine are twice as likely to say they are ready to celebrate holidays on a larger scale, and 57% say they are ready to celebrate holidays normally. In contrast, fully vaccinated consumers are the most cautious group, with 36% saying they will 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

TotalFully VaccinatedPlan to Get VaccinatedUndecidedDo Not Plan 
to Get Vaccinated
Ready to celebrate holidays on a larger scale12%10%8%11%23%
Ready to celebrate holidays normally43%38%39%45%57%
Plan to ease back into normal celebrations31%36%40%32%12%
Plan to stick with small scale celebrations14%16%13%12%9%

Holiday-specific findings include:

Mother’s Day 2021:

  • 1 in 3 (33%) expect to celebrate Mother’s Day normally this year, but most (67%) still expect a COVID impact. 
  • Mother’s Day gift-giving intentions are lower than previous years, with 43% of consumers planning to buy gifts in 2021, vs 53% in previous years. 
    • Of those planning to buy gifts, the top five gifting categories include: 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 as consumers are 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. 

Memorial Day 2021:

  • Nearly 3 in 10 (29%) expect their Memorial Day plans to be unaffected by the pandemic, though consumers are still 51% less likely to travel vs previous years. 
  • 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 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 which saw an increase from previous years. 
  • Fewer consumers plan to buy grills (51% in previous years vs 35% in 2021) or grilling materials (29% vs 13%) than in years past. 

Father’s Day 2021:

  • 2 in 5 consumers (40%) expect their Father’s Day plan to be unaffected by COVID, the highest of any spring or summer holiday to-date. 
  • Similar to Mother’s Day gifting intentions, just over 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 include: 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. 

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