The holiday season is just around the corner and will be upon us quicker than we can say “Holiday Greeting Cards!”
Living in a world filled with technology, do you still mail out your cards via the USPS or do you send out e-cards? If you’re sending out e-cards, do they convey the same depth of emotion which a hand picked, hand written card is thought to expresses?
According to the Greeting Card Association (GCA), approximately 7 billion greeting cards are purchased annually in the U.S., generating $7.5 billion in retail sales. Half of those cards are Seasonal Cards, with Christmas cards being the most popular in the seasonal category. Only 500 million e-cards are sent each year in the world for all occasions.
E-cards often supplement traditional card sending and are frequently sent to make quick casual contact, or for an occasion that seems too informal for a traditional card. Consumers rarely send an e-greeting to replace a traditional card.
The top objective as listed on their website is “To celebrate, promote and preserve the tradition of sending greeting cards.”
Hallmark claims over the Christmas holiday 1.5 billion cards are sent, which includes boxed and individual cards. Hallmark says about e-cards:
E-cards provide ways to help people connect at times when they might not choose a paper card but still want to reach out to friends or family.
Regardless of what these two greeting card companies may say, as early as December 2007, The New York Times claimed sending e-cards was gaining ground with businesses. Journalist Maria Aspan asserted in the article:
Many companies are embracing electronic greetings, which are cheaper, greener and more versatile than traditional cards and often look more sophisticated to pixel-trained eyes. Now that people have grown more nimble with online video, point-and-click holiday greetings have become a new palette for creativity, while static paper cards may induce a wince rather than a joyful noise.
An article in the LA Times by Sandra M. Jones, printed December 9, 2010, declares “Holiday cards’ future isn’t merry or bright”. The article says
While Christmas remains the holiday that sparks the most greeting card sales, fewer people send cards each year, according to Unity Marketing. The percentage of consumers buying greeting cards for Christmas fell from 77% in 2005 to 73% in 2007 and to 62% in 2009, according to the Stevens, Pa., market research firm’s 2010 report on greeting cards and stationery.
Pamela Danziger, president of Unity Marketing says
Compared to these instant forms of communication, addressing a preprinted card and sending it via snail mail seems like an antiquated waste of time.
In “The Greeting Card, Stationery, Gift Wrap & Party Goods and Paper Crafting Report 2010,” Unity Marketing stated:
The market for greeting cards is a tough one in today’s environment with consumers having so much faster, easier and in may cases cheaper ways to send a greeting.
Which side of the ‘mailed vs e-card’ debate will you fall on this year?