It took only a matter of weeks when the novel coronavirus profoundly altered daily life in Malaysia, ushering sweeping upheavals to the local economy.
On a micro level, a survey by the Department of Statistics Malaysia (DOSM) found that the average monthly household expenditure has fallen from 55% from RM6,317 to RM2,813 — with clothing and footwear taking the heaviest beating in consumption expenditure with a 95% decline.
Even though restaurants in the city are reopening with social distancing measures come May 4, most types of entertainment outlets that encourage people to congregate are on hold. Just how different will Mother’s Day celebrations be this year?
With cities and communities still under Movement Control Order (MCO) mandates across the country, many are opting for a quieter but more meaningful celebration with their family. Food and non-alcoholic beverages, which saw a 27% increase in household expenditure, will most probably be the leading choice in terms of gifting.
The same trend is observed across the world, especially in the US where the National Retail Federation (NRF) — the world’s largest retail trade association whose members include department stores, independent retailers, chain restaurants and grocery stores — revealed that customers are willing to spend on cards and special meals for their mothers.
“Some customers are looking to make up for the fact that they can’t take mum out by sending her something a little extra special this year,” Prosper Insights Executive Vice President of Strategy Phil Rist said in the survey published on April 23.
The results also indicated that younger consumers are planning on spending US$39 (RM168) more than they did last year. One reason is they’re planning to gift electronics this year, which are often higher-value items such as home devices or technology that will make it easier to connect with their mother.
Those with a stronger buying power are spending significantly more. Parents, who realise their partners are shouldering new burdens when it comes to childcare amid the Covid-19 outbreak, recognise the need of extra appreciation this year.
Having said that, a vast majority of consumers are looking for new, creative ways to shower their mothers with love. And that includes recreating special experiences at home such as a spa day, breakfast in bed or a “staycation” that includes a luxurious meal.
Similar to what NRF reported in its Mother’s Day survey, most people around the world are hopeful their daily lives and routines to return to normal. While the above Mother’s Day plans may be more aspirational than realistic given the current circumstances, many are aiming to regain a sense of normalcy in these troubled times.
Social distancing also meant thinking outside the traditional bouquet. The top three gifting categories that grew in popularity this year are books, electronics and houseware/gardening tools as consumers look to gift items that mum can easily use while at home. If you need help shopping for them, check out the options we’ve listed below:
Some people read cookbooks for the same reasons they would any other literature: escape. Yasmin Fahr has dedicated an entire book to the one-pot meal since cooking night after night can be a drag. Keeping It Simple features simple yet hearty dishes such as miso-ghee roast chicken with radishes and shakshuka that would make great weekend breakfast. For some quality downtime, skip the post-pandemic genre and immerse in the journey of motherhood — complete with the physical, emotional and the mental impact parenting can have — in Clover Stroud’s My Wild & Sleepless Nights.
You have the cookbook to whip up a sumptuous meal — now all you need is some fancy dinnerware to serve it in. Bendang Artisan’s store is closed during MCO but its online personal shopper is more than happy to arrange for delivery. The brand’s ‘Crush’ collection (pictured; price POA) makes the perfect backdrop for all the one-pot meals you’ll be serving, or even Ramadan treats. Complete your table set up with Dapo’s PEGA collection — consisting of modish, wooden serving boards — which is currently on sale.
GADGETS & ELECTRONICS
Give the tech savvy mum an upgrade and ease her everyday routine with the Dyson Supersonic hair dryer (RM1,999), re-engineered for different hair types to give her salon-ready locks within minutes without heat damage. To assist her in her culinary endeavours, KitchenAid’s limited-edition Queen of Hearts tilt head stand mixer (RM3,399) makes the perfect countertop addition. The powerful and versatile machine can be paired with a variety of attachments to peel, spiralize, grind, shred, juice and more to whip up family recipes in a jiff.
If mum has a green thumb, supply her with a wide assortment of tropical fruit, leafy, herb, root and bean seeds from Eats, Shoots and Roots’ Grow Box (RM369). The seeds are customisable, vacuum-sealed in individual jars and come with peat pellets for easy growing. For the newly initiated, Tiny Forest’s Pentagon Terrarium kit (RM205), which comes with a glass container, three terrarium plants, tools, soil and pebbles, makes for an easy DIY project that doubles as a lovely coffee table décor.
PERSONAL CARE & HOME SPA
Gift your mum the necessities to recreate a relaxing spa experience at home starting with Diptyque’s limited-edition Freesia Candle (RM309). This springtime scent is likened to a bouquet of multi-coloured freesias that give out a delicate floral perfume crowned with a touch of pepper. For a quick five-minute facial, Fresh’s Lotus Youth Preserve Rescue Mask (RM305, Sephora,my) utilises natural ingredients like kombu seaweed, red algae and lotus seeds to reset and revitalise tired and overstressed skin.
IF YOU REALLY INSIST ON A CHEERFUL BOUQUET...
... Make it unique, a least. Happy Bunch is collaborating with florist LavieFlo to offer preserved flowers in a glass dome (from RM129), a gesture that signifies mum’s undying love for you. The flower delivery service has also partnered Nala Designs, which will be producing pouches (RM99) with original prints inspired by the flowering cannonball trees found in Lake Gardens. For those looking for something more traditional, Pasu is offering a bouquet of carnations adorned with small flowers for RM88.
For more Mother's Day gift ideas, look out for our Treasury section in Options (May 4 issue).