Public Opinion: How Has The Coronavirus Affected Consumer Greeting Card Buying Behaviour?

As we approach the three-month marker since card and gift shops were allowed to re-open, PG Buzz canvasses consumers to ask how this strange period in our lives has affected their own card buying habits and whether Covid-19 has changed their preference on whether to buy wrapped or unwrapped cards.

In the first of a series, West Yorkshire-based retired policeman, Mark and London-based Musharrifa, a 28-year old quality governance facilitator for the NHS share their respective card sending behaviours and share their views on the role greeting cards place in current society.

Above: Mark didn’t quite understand the question about ‘unwrapped’ cards!
Above: Mark didn’t quite understand the question about ‘unwrapped’ cards!

Mark, is a 64-year old retired policeman who now works part time for an educational charity. He lives in West Yorkshire with his wife Debbie. They have four grown-up children and two grandchildren.

How would you describe yourself as a card buyer pre-lockdown?

“I would describe myself as a ‘needs must’ card buyer, but my wife Debbie always seems to have an extraordinarily large selection of cards to hand ‘just in case’ we need one.

I tend to go for cards that are more crafted, in their manufacture or the designs featured – not the ones with the cheesy messages! I have always avoided buying cards from chains or supermarkets as they don’t stock designs to my taste. My favourite shop to buy cards from has always been Serendipity in Saltaire.”

Above: Mark’s favourite place to buy cards is from Serendipity in Saltaire. (There is a sister shop in Leyburn).
Above: Mark’s favourite place to buy cards is from Serendipity in Saltaire. (There is a sister shop in Leyburn).

What were your card sending habits during lockdown?

“It was an ideal time to dip into the huge stash of cards we had in the house. We probably sent the same number as we would have had it not been lockdown.”

How has the re-opening of card shops affected your card buying and sending?

“As I have been shielding, I have not been to many shops since they re-opened.  However, I did buy a new home card from Not On The High Street. Right now, I would prefer to buy wrapped so I can throw away the wrappings, sanitise and be reasonably sure that the card has been untouched for some time.”

What is your view of greeting cards generally?

“While communication by post has declined considerably, I still feel cards remain a different and essential form of communication. Nothing says I care less than an email!”

Above: Mark with his wife Debbie and some of their card ‘spares’.
Above: Mark with his wife Debbie and some of their card ‘spares’.

Musharrifa is 28-year old, quality governance facilitator for the NHS. She lives in London with her partner and their 18-month old daughter.

How would you describe yourself as a card buyer pre-lockdown?

“I have always been a pretty active card sender. I like sending them as I know that friends and family always appreciate receiving them.

I have tended to buy my cards from a variety of places, online and in store, including from Moonpig, WHSmith, Marks and Spencer, my local Oliver Bonas or Card Factory (the latter if I am buying balloons and other birthday/occasion accessories).

My personal choice tends to be humorous designs, glittery ones or customised.”

Above: Musharrifa has always been an active card sender.
Above: Musharrifa has always been an active card sender.

What were your card sending habits during lockdown?

“I tended to buy online (mostly from Moonpig) as it was easier, plus it was good being able to customise cards to cheer people up.

I think I probably sent more cards during lockdown because of being unable to see people. Cards have been a great way of keeping in touch, plus, there have been quite a few birthdays in my friends and family group during this time, and it’s been fun customising cards to really personalise them.”

Would you favour wrapped or unwrapped cards on the basis of hygiene?

“Whether a card is wrapped or unwrapped does not affect me at all. I sanitise regularly and trust that others are doing the same, so picking up cards in shops and putting them back isn’t an issue for me.

I take all the required precautions and that’s good enough for me.”

What is your most recent card buying experience?

“It was for a friend’s birthday, which I bought in my local Oliver Bonas shop (in London’s Finchley Road). This branch is spacious so you don’t feel like you are penned in and have to make an effort to avoid other customers, which makes for a good shopping experience. Wearing a mask when you’re shopping isn’t great, but I’m sort of getting used to it now.”

Above: Musharrifa outside her local Oliver Bonas store.
Above: Musharrifa outside her local Oliver Bonas store.

What is your view of greeting cards in these current times?

“I’m not someone who buys cards to keep at home for future events, I tend to buy as and when, but working from home has given me more time to put effort into sending cards and give more thought into what I’m actually sending.”

I’m not massively active on social media and I don’t especially use it as a replacement for card sending. I really love receiving cards and I enjoy sending them, because I know how they make people feel.”

 

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