May 9, 2014, 4:37 PM

Diamonds are a mom’s best friend

In advance of Mother’s Day, moms who want tangible gifts put jewelry high on their wish lists. And e-retailer Overstock.com is seeing double-digit increases this week in sales of jewelry and of home products.

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Not to spoil anything, but moms on Sunday might want gifts of running apparel, sheets, pillows and—well duh!—jewelry. That’s according to data coming in this week that sheds light on Mother’s Day e-commerce trends.

Web-only mass merchant Overstock.com Inc., No. 31 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, said Friday that sales between May 2 and May 8 showed a “double-digit” increase compared with the same period last year. “Jewelry is, as expected, growing during this period,” says an Overstock spokeswoman. The e-retailer also experienced high sales for furniture, home improvement products and bedding items. “The trend is maybe not ‘breakfast in bed,’ but rather gifts for the bed,” she says.

Overstock’s Mother’s Day marketing differed little from last year, though the e-retailer did post its TV commercial on Facebook for the 2014 holiday.

Another retailer with a similar name—OverstockArt.com, No. 820 in the Second 500 Guide—also was using social media to drum up interest in its brand and products. The web-only art retailer ran for a second year a contest on the image-centric Pinterest social network that offered a $500 certificate good for OverstockArt.com products. Pinterest users created “boards” on the social network that included five images from the retailer. In return, the retailer gets consumers to give their e-mail addresses, says Amitai Sasson, the merchant’s vice president of marketing and development.

By Friday afternoon, consumers had created more than 1,500 boards, up from last year’s total of about 1,000. As for sales—well, they weren’t exactly flowing in. But Sasson says the retailer considers the Pinterest contest more about branding and leading to future marketing. OverstockArt.com created the contest in-house, reducing the cost of the effort, he adds.

According to e-commerce technology and services provider Shopatron, order volume for its more than 1,000 client brands increased in specific categories. The data show a 40% year-over-year increase for running gear; 33% for footwear; 26% for sporting goods; 25% for apparel; 14.9% for garden and patio; and 3.7% for home and housewares. The comparisons are for the first week of May in 2013 and 2014.

Product categories that show a decrease include: needle arts, down 35%; arts and crafts, down 16%; camping and hiking, down 9%; and consumer electronics, down 3%.

Then again, it is quite possible that mom isn’t going to be easily impressed by any online purchases. A pre-Mother’s Day online survey of 3,171 U.S. consumers by comparison shopping site and app operator PriceGrabber indicated that 44% of moms value “quality time with their” families. That compares with 29% who wanted gift cards for Mother’s Day, 28% who said flowers and 26% who said jewelry and 26% who said dining out.

Asked what they plan to give their moms, respondents to the PriceGrabber survey said flowers (37%), family quality time and dining out (each with 29%), greeting cards (24%) and gift cards (19%). 

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