The creative outpouring of the British greetings card industry is befitting of its huge worth to the British economy, which amounted to around £1.7bn according to the Greeting Card Association’s 2016 report.
This is the highest ever recorded public spend on greeting cards in this country and means that the huge rise in popularity of social media and other internet services have failed to diminish the intrinsic value of tangible, sentiment and occasion-driven product.
The vast majority of greetings are purchased in bricks and mortar stores and cards remain a vital, highly profitable product category for as many as one in six British retailers. Everyday cards account for 77% of the total retail value, individual Christmas cards generate 12% and the Spring Seasons follow closely behind with 10% of market value.
Consumers also tend to spend more on cards for mum – an average of £2.31 per card compared with £2.04 on Father’s Day greetings – but the high expectations surrounding Valentine’s Day brings the highest average spending of any card category at £2.50.
Helping stimulate card sales is National Stationery Week (April 24 – 30 2017), the annual awareness campaign that celebrates all things stationery, which stamped its mark on letters being posted in the United Kingdom and sent across the World in April.
With help from the Royal Mail, the biggest consumer campaign for the stationery industry had its logo, along with the #writingmatters hashtag, franked on the top of every letter posted from Monday April 24 to Saturday April 29.
The postmark formed an important part of the campaign which aims to prove the importance of handwriting. The week marked ‘Seven Days of Stationery,’ with a different stationery-related theme every day including: ‘Thank You Thursday’ and ‘Write a Letter Day’, with the latter occurring on Sunday April 30.
The emphasis of the week long campaign is that ‘Writing matters’ and, although more and more of us increasingly fall back on technology rather than the more traditional pen and paper for our communication needs.
Nevertheless, according to YouGov research commissioned by National Stationery Week, 94% of adults think that writing by hand is important and 97% think it is important for children to be taught to write. 91% of children aged between 8 and 15 also think it is important to be able to write by hand and 86% of business managers expect candidates for jobs to be able to write by hand, as well as have keyboard skills.
David Gold, Director of Public Affairs at Royal Mail said: “Throughout history, letters and the written word have shaped our culture and captured our imagination. While other forms of communication continue to grow in popularity, nothing conveys the sender’s true feelings as effectively as a hand written letter.”
Specialist card retailer Clintons, meanwhile, has also asserted the importance of tangible product with an ironic new ‘Letter’ range, which gently pokes fun at our current obsession with social media and encourages more genuine forms of social contact.
The cards, which offer a resolution far beyond the best screens on smartphones, have an interactive internal page that can be tailored in an infinite number of ways using a remarkably low cost stylus, available everywhere. The cards cannot to hacked and offer a lifetime power-free display!
Old fashioned social networking terminology such as – Tweet, Post, Like, Share, Friend, Follower, DM, FaceTime, Emoticon and Notification – can be replaced by cutting edge Letter terminology and actions such as: Letter, card, post, thank you call or letter back, hand to someone to look at in person, someone you’ve met face to face, sealed envelope or whisper in the ear, meeting up or phoning up, carefully chosen words and – most excitingly – a thud on the doormat.
Greeting card images, from top to bottom: Christian Lacroix licensed range from Galison, Chau Art, Fawn and Thistle, Bird Brain London, Turnowsky, Coulson and Macleod, Portico Designs, The Little Dog, Anzu, Clintons, Cath Tate