May 30, 2008, 12:00 AM

Shoppers will spend less on Father’s Day, but will buy online just as much

15% of shoppers plan to buy Father’s Day gifts online versus 14% last year – but average spending will drop to $115 from $125, according to a recent Brand Keys survey.

15% of consumer says they’ll buy Father Day’s gifts for pops online this year-about even with last year’s 14%, according to a new survey by customer loyalty consultants Brand Keys Inc.

Last year, consumers spent about $8 billion on dad, online and off, and that is projected to fall slightly, the survey says. “This year’s survey indicated fewer consumers -- 70% versus 77% in 2007 – will be celebrating,” says Brand Keys president Robert Passikoff. Those who are buying gifts say they will spend an average of $115 on dad, down 8% from last year’s $125, Passikoff says.

30% of consumers say they’ll buy gift cards, 25% and 13% tools as gifts. 10% plan to purchase electronics, 9% wine or alcohol, 8% DVDs and 5% phones. Bigger-ticket electronics purchases, such as computers, have dropped off the list of planned gift purchases in this year’s survey. “The weakened economy is making itself felt,” Passikoff says.

In another sign of the economic downturn, bricks-and-mortar discount stores have risen 9% to become the top shopping destination for Father’s Day gift givers. 35% plan to buy gifts at discount stores, up from last year’s 26%, followed by department stores with 22% compared to 27% last year, and specialty outlets down to 20% from 25% in 2007. 8% say they’ll buy from catalogs, the same as last year.

Brand Keys conducted 2,000 phone interviews for the survey during the first and second weeks of May.

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