Framing the Father’s Day Retail Landscape

NEW YORK—According to the National Retail Federation, this year’s Father’s Day is slated to be bigger than ever before. The NRF reports that Father’s Day spending in 2019 is expected to reach an all-time high of $16 billion, with an average planned spending of about $139 per person. In the same vein, this year, the optical community is getting online and getting involved with Father’s Day in a major way.


Many retailers are ringing in Father’s Day with special values for men's frames, including Edward Beiner locations and Van Brunt Optical Haus in Costa Mesa, California. Others are using the holiday as a reminder of just how important regular eye exams are for everyone—including Dad. Village Eyecare in Chicago, Brand Optometry in Glendale, California, are encouraging their Instagram followers to give Dad the gift of protecting his sight this year.

In addition to gifting Dad an all-important eye exam, many people who celebrate Father’s Day look to the eyewear industry for gift ideas. According to the NRF dads in 2019 are interested in different gifts than before; many are looking for gifts that give back, tech-related gifts, or gifts that keep on giving, like subscription services—and, thankfully, the eyewear community has explored all three of these areas.


For dads who want a gift that supports a cause or a purpose, there are eyewear options aplenty. In December 2018, VM rounded up a few ECPs and brands who making giving back part of their mission, and with “get a pair, give a pair” and “one for one” programs, giving back this Father’s Day has never been easier.

The optical industry has a foot in the tech door, too. From groundbreaking smart tech like Bose’s audio sunglasses, there’s no shortage of gift ideas for the tech-savvy, optical loving dad.

And then there are subscription services. The NRF reports that 34 percent of fathers surveyed are interested in receiving a subscription box service for Father’s Day this year. The eyewear industry has made a step into the subscription box world with Shades Club, a subscription service that drops a new pair of sunglasses at the front door every month—or as often as you choose.

As the retail landscape changes, the eyewear and eyecare industries are adapting to keep up. Keeping an eye on these trends helps brands and businesses set themselves apart, and become part of the everyday lives of their customers.

Take a look at the NRF's quick stats and comparisons in a unique new infographic below to show how Father’s Day is changing in 2019. And how it compares to Mother's Day ;-)

And thank you, to all the wonderful dads out there.

A Brief History of Father’s Day

According to, Father’s Day became a national holiday in the United States in 1972—58 years after Mother’s Day, whose history VM touched on back in May. Before ’72, however, states were celebrating Father’s Day on their own, starting with a church in West Virginia who hosted a 1908 Sunday sermon in honor of fathers and in memory of the 362 men who had been killed in an explosion at the Fairmont Coal Company the year before. In 1909, Sonora Smart Dodd, who had been raised by a widower along with her five siblings, began campaigning to make Father’s Day a holiday in her home state of Washington—and it worked. Washington was the first state to establish Father’s Day, which they celebrated for the first time on June 19, 1910.

Washington’s influence spread, and in 1924, President Coolidge urged state governments to observe their own Father’s Days. Throughout the Great Depression, struggling retailers and advertisers pushed to make Father’s Day a “second Christmas” for men in order to make more sales, which helped to establish Father’s Day nationwide. WWII helped Father’s Day too, as it became another way to honor American troops.

Finally, President Nixon signed a proclamation to make Father’s Day a federal holiday in 1972.

Don’t Forget Men’s Health Month

Father’s Day falls on the third Sunday in June—a month that many also recognize as Men’s Health Month. Headed by a Congressional health education program, Men’s Health Month was established to heighten awareness of preventable health problems for men, as well as to encourage men and boys to seek regular medical exams and advice. Several ECPs and optical retailers are reinforcing the message about men's health and eye health this year.