The Old School Stands Strong

There has been a strong trend recently towards on-line greeting cards, or e-cards, as they are more commonly referred to. The automatic assumption would then be that normal greeting cards, the traditional hallmark (bad pun intended) of birthdays, holidays, and graduations would be on the decline, but according to Hallmark Cards and American Greetings (by far and away the two largest producers of greeting cards in the United States) that is not the case, and both companies have actually continued to sell more cards the last few years than before. According to recent numbers, there were literally billions of greeting cards bought last year. This is a staggering number, and seems to show two things: 1) e-cards would have to go an incredibly long way, indeed, to even make a dent in these greeting card giants, and 2) the e-card take over has not been as sudden or complete as many people assumed it would be. E-mail and e-cards promised to revolutionize the business of saying ,“I Love You,” but so far that sentiment has not caught on. Even as more and more electronic greetings make their way to e-mail accounts all around the world, the old fashioned ink-on-paper greetings have held their ground--a fact many people attribute to the irreplaceable feeling of opening, and even saving, a physical card from an old friend, lover, or family member. Over the past few years, greeting card retail growth has been mostly from the sales of cards for everyday situations, and not, as commonly thought, for holidays. A study done by a committee put together by a conglamorate of greeting cards companies found one of the main reasons consumers head toward greeting cards rather than hashing out their feelings in a letter is because greeting cards "make it easy to express feelings" and "help people express them selves better than they can alone." Despite the boom of e-cards, more than 90% of U.S. households were part of a year that created over $7.5 billion dollars last year. A second thought on why greeting cards continue to do well is the tradition of saving Christmas cards, which for many people, is the “catch up on all this year’s news” for old friends and acquaintances. There are also graduations and birthdays, which often involve relatives giving money, which is very easy, and discretely done, through cards, and doesn’t show any signs of slowing soon.