In a year tinged by separation and restriction, more than half of Britons (55%) believe that sending Christmas cards to loved ones is more important than ever, according to the findings of new Royal Mail research.
Sending out an encouraging signal to those in the greeting card world, one in ten (11%) UK adults plan to send up to ten more Christmas cards this year than they usually do, as a direct result of lockdown restrictions
Royal Mail’s survey results reveal this upswing in Christmas card sending spans the generations with youngsters ever more engaged. Some 15% of 18-24 year olds are expected to send more Christmas cards this year, compared to just under one in ten (8%) of those aged 55+. Just under half (46%) of 18-24 year olds prefer Christmas cards as a way of spreading festive cheer than via any other medium, including text (38%) and WhatsApp messages (24%), according to Royal Mail.
Underlining the enduring appeal of the Christmas card, three quarters (75%) of UK adults believe that sending a Christmas card is a more meaningful way of letting loved ones know that you are thinking of them than a social media message or a text. Previously released figures reveal that more than six in ten (64%) also preferred receiving a Christmas card over any other form of festive greeting, including via social media (4%), text message (3%) or even face-to-face (19%).
Moreover, when asked why Christmas cards are so synonymous with the festive season, over half (53%) love displaying them in their homes, 45% look forward to reading the messages inside, and 45% also enjoy the particular thrill of receiving something through the post.
Mark Street, head of campaigns at Royal Mail commented: “This has been an immensely challenging and sometimes isolating year for so many, which is why it is more important than ever to find a truly meaningful way of letting loved ones know that you are thinking of them – even if you can’t be there in person. There’s something inherently festive and heart-warming about sending and receiving a physical card through the post, that someone has lovingly taken the time to write. Put simply, sometimes a letter or card is better.”
London, the East of England, the North West and the East Midlands (12%) are where most people plan to send additional Christmas cards this year, as a result of lockdown restrictions. Figures released in 2018 also suggest that the residents of Newcastle (91%), Birmingham (86%), and Leeds (86%) place the most value on Christmas cards in the UK.
Loved ones living on their own are key priorities for the nation’s Christmas card lists this year. Extended family members living outside the sender’s household are most likely to receive a card (71%), followed by friends (65%), parents, current or ex work colleagues (25%), grandparents (17%) and great-grandparents (2%).
Local postmen or women are also popular additions, along with other community key workers, including nurses, doctors and teachers.
(The Royal Mail research was based on a total sample size of 2,060 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 13–16 November 2020. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults, aged 18+).
Top: One of the Selfridges’ Christmas windows, which fanfares the Royal Mail pop-up department inside.