Toni Renom, export manager for Busquets, the long established Barcelona-based greeting card publisher, gift and luggage company, talks about the challenges and opportunities facing the Spanish market.
“The Spanish market is still in a deep process of change which affects not only the final customer but the channels of distribution too. A greeting card has become something exceptional and is not seen as the ‘traditional’ way for greeting people. There has been a shift so that cards are now seen more as a ‘gift concept’, rather than a social channel of communication.
That said, 2017 was a good year for us on everyday cards. We have grown due to the fact that we launched lots of smaller and different ranges.”
What have been the market shifts?:
“There has been a move away from very specific captions, while more general captions, related to Happy Birthday and Thank You for example, are blooming. Humorous cards are still selling well, but so too are elaborate higher end cards, perhaps because there is a much greater prominence of fine stationery companies in the market.
Sales of Christmas cards in Spain though are definitely in decline. Those with a charity connection are still doing OK, but such has been the drop in sending that now in Spain, if you do receive a Christmas card in the post it is tantamount to receiving a bottle of Champagne – it’s viewed as something highly valuable!
Another key point facing the Spanish card market is the eco issue. There is an increasing importance, driven by the consumer, for all cards to be produced with environmental credentials.”
What are the main challenges to the Spanish card market?:“Certainly the market is being affected by the blast of the new technologies and the way people are communicating. New apps and social media channels are all seen as being more effective in delivering immediate levels of satisfaction than sending a simple card.
Maybe because of this, greeting cards are evolving to be seen as special items. This is reflected in our sales of luxury cards, which are going up to the detriment of simple and less elaborate cards. These high-end cards are given with a gift rather than posted.
The ‘Phantom Menace’ to my mind is not coming from the dark side, but the virtual side. The question for consumers is whether to choose to have something tangible in their hands or not.”
What are your expectations of 2018?:
“We are hoping to grow our sales in overseas markets as well as working very hard in our particular domestic field. Last year turned out to be very good for some markets that we never thought we would sell to.
We are expanding our portfolio of cards for 2018 introducing new themes and finishes, thereby providing our customers with a wide variety of cards without having to order large quantities. We are hoping for a good response to our new launches resulting in finding some distributors in countries like UK and USA for instance -two markets that are very difficult to penetrate due to the local competition.”