Sunday Times boost as GCA’s Amanda features on GB News
“Everyone wound the clock back to about 2007 and went back to the High Street at the weekend,” stated Michael Apter, owner of Paper Tiger in Edinburgh, echoing a welcome surge in sales, after the buffeting greetings shops have taken largely due to the Royal Mail strikes, not helped by the negative media coverage dissuading people not to send cards.
Down in Stoke Newington, Heidi Early, co-owner of Earlybird Designs, said: “We had our best day ever on Saturday so that most definitely helped! I have to say I’m not making any firm predictions this week, if I’ve learned anything it’s that anything is possible!”
And Miles Robinson, co-owner of the House of Cards group, is also anticipating a shopping frenzy this week: “My hunch for this week is it will go nuts with the weather being warmer and non-delivery of online purchases will force people into the High Street.
“However, it will be nowhere near enough to make up. Last week’s trade was shocking, as a group we were 15% down on last year! Stamp sales were catastrophic as when Royal Mail did manage to sell them to us they couldn’t deliver them. It was a perfect retail storm for sure!”
At least the consumer media was helping rather than hindering with its coverage of Christmas cards at the weekend.
The Sunday Times featured GCA data that champions how youngsters are sending more cards than ever – and association ceo Amanda Fergusson more than held her own on GB News.
While only a smallish piece in the weighty newspaper on Sunday, 18 December, the “Cards are picture perfect for Gen Z” article carried a big enough punch to also warrant a comment in the editorial opinion section.
Consumer affairs editor Louise Eccles quoted a YouGov poll of 6,000 people which showed only 48% of adults are sending Christmas cards this year – but she outweighed that with the GCA’s latest survey showing 19% of 25 to 34-year-olds are sending more than they did before the pandemic, with 16% of 16 to 24-year-olds doing the same.
And online greetings giant Moonpig told her sales of Christmas photo cards had risen 84% since 2019, with Amanda stressing that Britons would still write one billion festive missives this year alone.
In the editorial, The Sunday Times wrote: “Christmas cards are time-consuming, costly and inefficient. This is why we love them. They take effort, and by sending them we are telling our friends they are worth the effort.
“Digital natives, so often dismissed by their elders as slaves to instant gratification, are the ones who see the worth in an analogue greeting that takes days (or, this Christmas, weeks) to arrive.”
Then on the same day’s GB News lunchtime show, Alistair Stewart interviewed Amanda for its Christmas traditions slot where he referred to the postal strikes: “I was exchanging text messages with a mate of mine the other day, just double checking on his new address. And he said, I haven’t received any cards yet – I’m not holding my breath.”
With cards galore on display Amanda explained she’d received a lot herself on Saturday – a nod to Royal Mail’s current attempt to cut all weekend letter deliveries which the government is resisting – and she added: “Obviously, we’re concerned about this ongoing dispute because it’s affecting so many people across the country. You know, we send more cards than any other nation in the UK, we love sending and receiving Christmas cards and that’s in no small part due to the service that we generally can rely on from the Royal Mail.”
“I think a lot of people bought their cards early. And that’s certainly what our retailers are reporting back. A lot are hand delivered – we’ve seen in recent years, a real increase in greeting card purchases for close family and friends where people are buying individual cards so they’re not actually buying a box of 100 and sending the same card to everybody. They’re actually choosing cards that they’re sending, specifically for the recipient.”
After explaining Sir Henry Cole’s role in starting the tradition with the first Christmas card in 1843, and pointing out that a text message can’t be displayed on the mantlepiece, Amanda said sending and receiving cards “prompts you to reach out” to friends and loved ones.
She added: “There are 180,000 birthdays every day in this country and greeting cards are a huge part of that, that celebration of that occasion, and of course many others. We continue to send more cards per capita than any other nation because we love receiving them.”
Alistair confessed he and his family love Christmas cards “even though remembering who sent one back last year is not always the easiest thing to do and you can upset people so easily”!
Top: Alistair Stewart interviews Amanda Fergusson on GB News