Royal Mail’s decision to increase stamp prices on January 1 (https://www.pgbuzz.net/disappointment-as-the-cost-of-a-first-class-stamp-is-to-rise-to-85p-on-jan-1/) is having a knock on negative effect on greeting card retailers’ stamp supplies in the run up to Christmas.
As Sarah Henderson, co-owner of the 3 Wishes group (which comprises five card and gift shops in Dorset and Hampshire) told PG Buzz: “It is so frustrating. We really need Royal Mail to lift restrictions on ordering stamps. We can’t believe Royal Mail decided to increase prices in January and restrict the quantity we can order in the run up to Christmas in order to stop anyone stockpiling!”
Sarah has stressed to Royal Mail that “customers only want the stamps to send Christmas cards, sales of which are a core part of our business. We have given assurances that we are not attempting to stockpile. We were told to email and request an increase on our £3,000 limit – we had used this within three days of re-opening! but to no avail, even though we have had a trade account ever since we set up the business.”
As Sarah elaborated, the intransigence and lack of communication from Royal Mail is adding fret to consumers’ lives. “Our customers want to avoid queuing at the Post Office for long periods of time, and every other retailer has also sold out. We have been ordering them at retail price but because no-one else has any stock, £1000’s worth of stamps are selling in less than two days and that’s with us restricting sales to two books of 12 per customer.”
Mark Janson-Smith, co-owner of Postmark, which has four shops in London, shares in Sarah’s pain.
“We too have experienced a problem on supplies from Royal Mail. You just can’t buy enough stamps. We are going through £10k a week of stamps so quickly hit our limits. I know that It’s to stop people stockpiling before the postal increase, but why they had to impose this so close to Christmas instead of the usual March/April timing I don’t know,” said Mark.
Offering a sign of hope to card retailers’ stamp-paucity, he has just been informed that Christmas stamps are not covered by the ‘rationing restrictions’.
“We have bought lots more of these which will hopefully see us through – I would encourage other card retailers to do the same. We should not stand in the way of people sending their Christmas cards, this year more than any other!” he added.
New research from Royal Mail has revealed that four in ten (40%) Britons have sent Christmas cards to loved ones overseas this year. More than one in ten (12%) are sending more internationally-bound cards than they usually do, due to concern over lockdown restrictions that are keeping friends and family apart.
Here are some key findings from the survey…
The Royal Mail research crowns Australia as the UK’s ‘top international Christmas card sending hotspot’ for 2020, with just under one in three (32%) people sending cards Down Under.
This is closely followed by the USA (30%), Canada (16%), Spain (12%) and New Zealand (11%).
Friends (53%), cousins (19%) and siblings (17%) are the most likely recipients of internationally-bound Christmas cards; however, 1% send overseas festive missives to a pet.
Handwritten Christmas cards are seen by those who are unable to spend the festive season with family as one of the most thoughtful ways that let a loved one know that they’re on your mind (20%). Some value them more than receiving a gift (6%), mementoes from home (5%), or receiving a message on any form of social media (3%) as a way for family to show they are thinking of them.
Residents of Wales (48%) and London (46%) send the most Christmas cards overseas. While those in the North East (26%) send the least cards internationally.
International Christmas Card Sending Hotspots
- Australia (32%)
- USA (30%)
- Canada (16%)
- Spain (12%)
- New Zealand (11%)
- France (11%)
- Republic of Ireland (10%)
- Germany (9%)
- Netherlands (4%)
- Italy (4%)
- Portugal (3%)
- Poland (3%)
- Cyprus (2%)
- Belgium (2%)
- Switzerland (2%)
- Sweden (2%)
- South Africa (2%)
- Austria (2%)
- Japan (2%)
- India (2%)
Top: Card retailers are frustrated that restrictions on stamp supplies will hamper Christmas card sending.