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Traditional Christmas card remains firm favourite in US and UK

Tuesday, December 11th, 2012

The traditional physical Christmas card appears to be shrugging off society’s shift towards electronic communication alternatives.

In the United States around 1.6bn Christmas cards will be purchased this year, with the US Greeting Card Association stating that sales are increasing year-on-year.

The Association says sales of greeting cards have fluctuated over the last several years, but the industry is anticipating a “healthy future” despite the rise of social media, because traditional cards are seen as more personal

“The widespread use of social media has increased the value of connection, adding a new dimension to how people communicate,” said GCA executive vice president Patti Stracher, “but greeting cards continue to play an invaluable role in our social culture.”

Americans send around 140m individual Christmas cards a year – a segment worth around $427m in sales each year – with the remainder bought in box sets.

The GCA said some of the current trends in Christmas Cards this year is an increasing personalisation of cards including images highlighting a sender’s location, the use of embellishments including decoration and music or sound chips, and cards that serve multiple purposes – designs that can be part of a home holiday decor or an ornament on a Christmas tree.

UK

In the UK, a new survey from Pitney Bowes suggests that 85% of people prefer a “real” Christmas card.

The mailroom giant said its poll of 1,080 consumers found that only 6% felt electronic “e-cards” were preferable because they thought they were better for the environment, while 2% didn’t like the “clutter” of Christmas cards.

“It seems we’re still traditionalists at heart, which is rather cheering to know at this time of year,” said Simon Martindill, head of marketing for Pitney Bowes Global Mailing Solutions.

The Pitney Bowes study is in line with research from Royal Mail, which this month suggests the average Brit will be sending 19 Christmas cards this year, up 27% on last year.

The study involving 2,000 people found that a 80% of people prefer a traditional card to greetings sent through social media, which they suggested “impersonal”.

Sharon Little, chief executive of the Greeting Card Association, said: “Christmas is all about caring, sending real cards to friends and family is far more meaningful than any form of electronic communication.”

Source: Post&Parcel/Royal Mail/GCA/Pitney Bowes

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