In the U.S., consumers plan to spend an average of $174 this year on Father’s Day gifts. While that figure’s nothing to sneeze at, it’s still far less than the average $220 they spent on Mother’s Day items.
Consumer psychologists say a lot of that difference is tied to marketing: The industry can’t seem to muster as much enthusiasm for Father’s Day as Mother’s Day and other big holidays. That’s likely because most men respond better to functional gifts than the symbolic, emotional ones we typically get for our moms. The items many women respond to also carry a higher profit margin – the kinds of margins that get marketers excited.
Another reason mothers have historically gotten more parental holiday love: They’ve traditionally carried more of the weight of raising children.
But with gender roles rapidly shifting, the parental holiday spending gap is also changing. While men are still playing catchup to moms, consumers are spending more on Dad each year.
And more good news for the patriarchs we all know and love – with rapid advances in technology, there’s a wealth of smart, edgy gifts out there. Whether your father’s a handyman, outdoor enthusiast or music lover, there’s an item perfectly suited to his interest. And unless you’re planning to spring for the latest MacBook Pro, there are plenty of useful tech gifts that won’t shatter your budget.
We’ve listed a few possibilities here.
The Wyze smart plug
At just $20 for a pair, these little guys put your dad in command – at least of his home devices. Devices plugged into the Wyze – lamps, coffeepots, TVs, fans, etc. – can be turned on or off by voice command, using Alexa or the Google assistant. It’s handy when we’re busy, away or when you just don’t feel like getting up. Use it with your mobile phone to control your home from anywhere, which can keep a lid on high energy bills and avoid fire hazards. Or use vacation mode to turn lights on and off remotely and make it look like you’re home.
The Snowball iCE is a plug-and-play USB microphone that provides high-quality sound for recording and streaming. At just $50, this makes a great gift for the singer/songwriter (wannabe or actual) or podcaster in your life. Powered by a custom cardioid condenser capsule, it delivers crystal-clear audio quality that Blue describes as “light-years ahead of your built-in computer microphone.”
For the dad who wants to keep you close, even when you’re far away, consider the Pix-Star digital photo. The 10-inch version is $155; the 15-inch about $200. Rated best digital frame of 2021 by Tom’s Guide, it features a bright, clear display of high-resolution photos and videos. For those into specs, it displays at 1024x768 pixels, a 4:3 ratio. It integrates with all major social networks so you can connect photos online. To ramp up the emotion a bit higher, you can even set a soundtrack to your slideshow, streaming music that broadcasts directly from the frame.
Couch potato dad
The Fire Stick is hardly new, but in this – the golden age of streaming – they’ve become ever more sophisticated and less expensive. At just $40, PCMag rates this one “the best media streamer you can for under $50.” Developed by Amazon, the Fire Stick is a streaming device that connects to your TV and lets you stream content over the internet. Smaller, faster and more advanced than its predecessors, the 4K version now has power and volume controls in addition to menu and playback options. That means dad can watch streaming media without a second remote. Such minimal movement makes this an ideal match for the truly dedicated couch potato.
If your dad’s into multi-day camping or hiking trips, this is an ideal gift to ease both your minds. A solar power bank lets you charge devices via an ISB port, or using sunlight. Compatible with newer iPhones, Samsung Galaxy and all qi-enabled mobile devices, this handy tool features a 10,000mAh wireless power bank. Designed for the truly adventurous, it’s also waterproof and includes a flashlight and portable compass kit. All that and it weighs in at a mere 10 ounces – with a modest $29 price tag.
*The above products are examples only; Viasat does not endorse them.