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April monthly insights for gifting season

April 29, 2022
A man and a woman hold gifts in their hands and the man looks at the woman while she smiles.

Gifting season: Celebrating moms, dads and grads!

Spring is filled with celebration, and it’s time to start thinking about the large seasonal moments that are just around the corner. With several of them approaching, retailers should expect to see a rise in demand for gift-giving categories. Are you prepared to reach consumers as they start their online shopping journeys?

We looked at online search behaviors for a few upcoming holidays (Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and graduation) to predict how the retail landscape will look this year compared to previous years. Read about our findings below and make sure you’re ready to reach consumers as they start their shopping journeys with Microsoft Advertising.

Mother’s Day

The first holiday moment we’re focusing on is Mother’s Day. Searches for Mother’s Day-related queries have shown similar search patterns year-over-year (YoY) for the last three years on the Microsoft Search Network. We found that queries containing “mothers day” typically start spiking around a week from the holiday. However, more generic queries containing gifting terms start ramping up much earlier in the season.1

Graph showing spike of “mothers day” queries one week before the holiday.

Pro tip: Expose new search trends and themes this Mother’s Day by implementing both Dynamic Search Ads and broad match into your upcoming campaigns. Try ad customizers to save time and serve more relevant ads.

According to a Civic Science report, these are the expected top gifts this Mother’s Day (ranked in order): flowers, a special meal, jewelry, spa treatments, apparel, and home décor.2 Jewelry saw a +26% YoY lift in searches the week of Mother's Day in 2021, before falling later in May.1 Dine-in restaurants searches remained relatively flat YoY from 2019 to 2020, but saw a large spike in 2021 with +46% growth YoY.1 Other popular subcategories that grew in 2021 were: gift cards, clothing, and footwear.1 As consumers are expected to spend approximately $220 this year on their Mother’s Day purchases, make sure you have adequate budget against these subcategories.

Pro tip: The amount consumers are spending on Mother’s Day has been steadily increasing since 2018. Use Merchant Promotions to display your exclusive offers on specific products or site-wide sales within Product Ads.

Father’s Day

Father’s Day this year will take place a little over a month after Mother’s Day, on June 19. Although these two holidays are similar in nature, there are some key differences in campaign strategy that will help you maximize your impact. For example, flowers did not make the top ten list of expected gifts for 2022. Instead, we have items such as cards, clothing, special outings, personal care products, home improvement tools, and sporting goods.3 And while queries containing “fathers day” don’t spike until the week of the holiday (similar to Mother’s Day), retail subcategories ramp up at least twice in June prior to Father’s Day.

Graph showing the behavior of retail sub-categories throughout the month of June.

Pro tip: Layer on relevant In-market Audiences for search campaigns to reach buyers during their cross-shopping journeys between retail subcategories.

As we saw happen with Mother’s Day 2021, special outings, such as dining at a restaurant, have been continuously growing in popularity since 2020. In fact, Dining and Nightlife-related clicks spiked a whopping +38% YoY on Father’s Day alone last year.3 Our search forecasts indicate this trend is here to stay, with a +28% expected growth in dining in experiences over the next month.3


Now that we’ve covered both holidays for the parents, let’s focus on graduation trends. The amount consumers are spending on graduation is growing YoY and is expected to generate almost 6 billion dollars in sales this season.4 Similar to the other holidays, cards of all types were very popular last year for graduation. Two key card trends that are spiking in 2022 are gift cards (searches projected to rise +50% over the summer) and photo cards (searches projected to rise +204% over the summer).5

While top gifts for graduation tend to vary slightly by region, giving cash was unanimously the most popular option across all of the United States in 2021, followed closely by cards.5 It’s also worth noting that most people who gift money to graduates will prefer to put their gift inside of a greeting card as well.

Cards aren’t the only product highlighting large opportunities this season. Apparel companies should also prepare to see spikes. Not only is apparel consistently a top-gifted item, but graduates tend to shop for new outfits to wear at their graduation (mostly formal attire). On the Microsoft Search Network, searches and clicks are up 22% and 10% YoY, respectively.5 Take a look at the graph below to explore other top keyword trends from the last three years.

: Graduation-related top searched queries for the past three years.


Now that we’ve covered the specifics of three up-and-coming holidays, don’t wait to capitalize on these insights. Adjust your bids and budgets now to ensure you’re prepared for upcoming spikes.

[1] Insights, Microsoft Advertising Insights search data 2019-2021. Date information pulled: 2/20/2022. Retrieved from: Insights 2022: Mother’s Day search and click trends - Microsoft Advertising.
[2], 850 responses on 2/9/2022. Date information pulled: 2/21/2021. Retrieved from:
[3] Insights, Microsoft Advertising Insights search data 2019-2021. Date information pulled: 3/10/2022. Retrieved from: Father’s Day insights: Search and click trends - Microsoft Advertising.
[4] College Fashion, data from 2022 The 30 Cutest Graduation Dresses for 2022. Date information pulled: 3/25/2021. Retrieved from: 30 Incredibly Cute Graduation Dresses for 2022 - College Fashion.
[5] Insights, Microsoft Advertising Insights search data 2019-2021. Date information pulled: 3/22/2022. Retrieved from: Graduation gift trends - Microsoft Advertising.


  • Joe Kruger


    Joe Kruger
  • Aaron Dang


    Aaron Dang

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