Mum's the word

Cafes and restaurants will be the big winners in the 2014 Mother's Day spend, with an anticipated $310.8 million being spent taking mums to brunch, lunch or dinners

Occasions like Mother's Day present a real business opportunity for organisations. How much do we love Mum?

Well actually, considerably more than Dad if the amount that Australians spend on Mother's Day gifts is anything to go by. According to IBISWorld, Australians are expected to spend over $1.4 billion indulging their mums this year, which averages out to about $61.31 per mum. That's more than twice the average spent on Father's Day gifts.

There's no doubt that $1.4 billion spent on a single occasion is an unmissable business opportunity. But what are they buying? And how to capture a share of this generous spend? This is where market research can provide the answers.

Knowledge is power

Understanding your market, your customers and your competitors provide decision-makers a solid basis upon which to make strategic decisions for their business. In fact, organisational success or failure can be attributed to the thoroughness of the market research, as this helps develop a strong understanding of consumer trends, competitor activity and industry advancements. To make quality decisions, marketers must have information that is accurate, up to date and relevant. Recent data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) now indicates that women can expect to have 1.9 children in their lifetime, with the median age of mothers sitting at 30.7 years. Fathers are slightly older with a median age of 33 years.

What gifts are we buying?

Research by IBISWorld forecasts that cafes and restaurants will be the big winners in the 2014 Mother's Day spend, with an anticipated $310.8 million being spent taking mums to brunch, lunch or dinners. Flowers come in second place, with Australians projected to spend $199.2 million on bouquets, blooms and other greenery. Third place is awarded to gift vouchers and gift cards with a $137.2 million spend, and a very close fourth place is cosmetics, fragrances and toiletries with a $136.1 million spend.

But what about chocolate? Although we enjoy spending $45.2 million on the "food of the gods" (especially the rapidly growing fair trade, organic and dark chocolate brands), homewares and electrical goods are still more popular as gifts, with sales increasing by 4.7%, to reach $56 million this year.

The moral of the business story

Every organisation, be it small or large, private or public, should be undertaking market research continually. This is not only to meet the needs of its customers, but also to understand all aspects of the markets in which it operates. Without conducting research an organisation is usually only guessing at what its customers' needs and wants are. Or even who its customers actually are. Research can provide information and guidance to help managers make sound decisions by reducing uncertainty, thereby increasing the probability of making a good decision.

So this Sunday, when you're watching Mum arrange a beautiful bouquet of flowers or enjoying a delicious Mother's Day degustation brunch at her favourite café, remember that this hasn't all just happened by chance. It's the result of an enormous amount of careful behind-the-scenes research and planning by the businesses that have helped provide those gorgeous gifts.