The votes are in, and the results are a show of confidence for the UK greeting card industry. The public spent a staggering £1.7 billion on greeting cards last year and sent an astonishing 864 million single cards. These impressive facts were confirmed by findings of the recently published GCA UK Greeting Card Market Report, based on actual sales figures of the association’s publisher members.
While impressive numbers, they are tinged with a veil of caution, as they represent a slight decline in value and volume on the previous year.
Commenting on the findings, Sharon Little, ceo of the GCA, which commissioned the annual research that forms the basis of the Market Report said: “The overall picture is that the UK greeting card industry has shown a remarkable strength in what has been a very challenging time for the high street. Although there have been slight dips in value and volume across the greeting card sector, these decreases are marginal – the figures show that the industry is strong and stable.”
The average price paid for a greeting card in 2017 (compared to 2016) was up to £1.75, 2p more than in the previous year.
Highlights of the Market Report
* The public spent over £1.7 billion on greeting cards last year (2007 v 2016).
* Sales of Spring Seasons cards were up on the previous year to £166 million (compared to £161.6 million in the previous year’s report).
* Everyday cards account for over three quarters of the individual greeting card sales (77%) in the UK with the remainder almost equally accounted for by Christmas counter cards and Spring Seasons singles.
* Sales of Birthday and blank cards were up last year.
* Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day saw increases of 9% and 4.3% respectively in the amount spent in these two Spring Seasons events.
In the preface of the Report, Ceri Stirland, GCA president (and UKG’s customer and channel director) points out: “The major proportion of greeting cards are still bought in physical bricks and mortar shops rather than online, with cards remaining an important, highly profitable product category across all retail channels.”
That said, and helping to futureproof the sector, considerable efforts are being expended to ensure that if consumers want to buy their cards online that the choice is there too – be it from purely online operators such as Moonpig and Thortful, to specialists such as Paperchase and Scribbler, as well as generalists such as John Lewis (whose online card sales have doubled over the last couple of years).
Elaborating, Ceri adds: “Online retail in the UK is one of the fastest growing retail segments and one to watch, providing new insights into how our category is developing via online purchasing habits.”
* The UK Greeting Card Market Report is commissioned annually by the Greeting Card Association (GCA) to provide reliable figures on the greeting card industry.
Award-winning market data company, Echo Research, once again undertook to manage the project again this year. Publisher members submitted their UK retail sales data covering January – December 2017 to a confidential, secure online survey.
The report assumes that the actual data submitted by GCA members’ accounts for 73% by value and 64% by volume of the greeting card market (considering the market shares of the likes of Card Factory and online operators). The collected sales data is then extrapolated to give full market figures.
The Market Report is available at no additional charge to GCA members (in the Members’ Library of the website) and for non-members for a cost of £750 (+VAT).
* A fuller report will be published in the October edition of Progressive Greetings, which is out soon.