Dads Hoping for A Day with Family or Tech Gifts May Have Been Disappointed This Father’s Day

NEW YORK, N.Y. – Aside from being the last day of spring, this past Sunday was also the day Americans set aside to celebrate the number one men in their lives: their fathers. And while fathers may come in a variety of shapes and sizes with strange arrays of bad dad jokes and embarrassing dance moves, nearly nine out of ten American dads (89%) have at least one thing in common: they were hoping to receive a present last Sunday, a love offering if you will, for their paternal accomplishments.

But what exactly were dads looking for? Just under six in ten (58%) simply wanted a day with their family. Meanwhile, around three in ten had their fingers crossed in hopes of receiving a home cooked meal (32%), electronics/gadgets (31%), or a gift certificate (28%). A quarter of fathers were hoping to unwrap tools/power tools (25%) or sports equipment (25%), while about one in five were anticipating a home-made card (22%), pictures of their children/grandchildren (20%), or cooking equipment (19%). However, there are two gifts on the list less than one in ten fathers would have been happy to receive: jewelry (8%), or the old standby for dads, a tie (6%). Only 11% of dads said they wanted nothing for Father’s Day.

These are some of the results of The Harris Poll® of 2,078 U.S. adults surveyed online, including 420 dad, between June 17 and 20, 2016.

Did you get the right gift?

Of the more than 6 in 10 Americans (63%) who were planning to give a Father’s Day gift, nearly 4 in 10 (38%) said they were likely to give their dad a day with the family, compared to 58% of dads who wanted such quality time on their special day. The three in ten dads (31%) who would have liked to receive electronics or gadgets may also be feeling let down this year, as fewer than one in five adults (17%) planned to give such gifts.


What Dads Want

What Americans Plan to Give
(of those planning to give anything)

A day with my family



Home cooked meal



Electronics/gadgets (e.g., smartphone, wireless speakers)



Gift certificate (e.g., massage, restaurant)



Tools/power tools



Sports equipment/paraphernalia (e.g., golf clubs, team jersey)



Home-made card



Pictures of children, grandchildren



Cooking equipment (e.g., grill, smoker)



Jewelry (e.g., watch, cufflinks)






Something else







This Harris Poll was conducted online, in English, within the United States between June 17 and 20, 2016 among 2,078 adults (aged 18 and over), of whom 420 were fathers. Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online. 

All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, The Harris Poll avoids the words “margin of error” as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100% response rates. These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal.

Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Poll surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the adult population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in our panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

These statements conform to the principles of disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

The results of this Harris Poll may not be used in advertising, marketing or promotion without the prior written permission of The Harris Poll.

Product and brand names are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective owners.

The Harris Poll® #46, June 21, 2016

By Hannah Pollack, Harris Poll Research Analyst