The greeting card industry increasingly has a lot to thank the education system for – with sales of thank you teacher cards, followed by exam congratulations, making the grade for so many card stockists.
With the end of the school term comes over-excited children, parents wondering just how they’re going to juggle everything over the next six weeks – and a pleasant profit boost for the greeting card industry.
It’s now not just a case of buying their class teacher a thank you card or present when school gets out, as many children and adults alike want to show teaching assistants, dinner ladies and even lollipop men and ladies their appreciation as well.
Ros Jones, from Celtic Company, Welshpool said: “While families have always made a point of thanking teachers – particularly at Primary School level – often with a card or token present, this has definitely been more of an event for us this year than in the past,” with the fortnight leading up to the end of the summer term resulting in a “significant uplift” in sales. While Ros says that retailers’ increased efforts in this direction, the greater choice of products available, as well as peer pressure from children and their parents, have contributed to the growth of this area, she also cites a shift in the way educators are perceived is changing. “Our customers see that they, along with other public sector workers, appear to be less valued by central government than previously and are keen to let them know that their contribution has mattered to them as parents and to their child or children.”
The scale of buying is certainly altering as well. As Mark Janson-Smith, co-owner of Postmark, four shops in London said: “It is getting wider and wider. It used to be just teachers, but now teaching assistants are given cards too, plus dinner ladies”, with ‘Lollipop Lady’ cards being another ask for retailers.
Andrea Pinder, owner of Unit 7 Cards and Gift shops in Manchester and Birmingham, points out that this summer’s season of ‘thank you teacher’ purchases, closely followed by graduation and exam congratulations, makes this something of a “big retail event.” As well as cards, “Congratulation gifts are big for us, notably wine and beer glasses, Spaceform tokens, pens, frames, sentiment plaques and certificate holders.”
With the GCSE and A Level results still to be released, followed by the ‘off to uni’ flurry, it will be something of an ‘educated summer’ for card retailers.