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The UK Public Spent £1.4 Billion On Greeting Cards

Showing a love of greeting cards that knows no bounds, even during the pandemic, the UK public spent an extraordinary £1.4 billion on single greeting cards in 2020.

1B. Screenshot 2021-11-04 at 18.08.22 copyA total of 708 million individual greeting cards were bought in the year, with that figure not including Christmas card boxes and packs or packs of Easter cards.These reassuring topline figures appear in the just published UK Greeting Card Market Report 2021, based on actual sales data. This insightful annual research project was undertaken by Echo, an independent research company, commissioned by the GCA (Greeting Card Association) to track purchases of everyday, Spring Seasons and Christmas single cards, both by volume and value, for the year 2020 compared to 2019.

In the preface of the Report, Chris Bryan, president of the GCA (and joint general manager of Second Nature) put the figures into context.

Above: Second Nature’s joint general manager Chris Bryan with Rachel Hare, md of Belly Button Designs and former president of the GCA at the association’s AGM and Conference.
Above: Second Nature’s joint general manager Chris Bryan with Rachel Hare, md of Belly Button Designs and former president of the GCA at the association’s AGM and Conference.

“While this [the total market value on single cards] represents an 8.5% decline in retail value sales, this is a solid performance given the 2020 retail landscape,” he said, citing how in what was largely accepted as the worst year in retail on record, with a great many greeting card retailers forced to close during the lockdowns, not to mention the huge reduction in social gatherings and shared celebrations which are such great drivers for greeting card sales, the British public’s love for cards found a way through.

“Given the scale and gravity of the challenges faced in 2020, it’s clear that the greeting card market remains incredibly resilient with a strong underlying performance,” stated Chris. “The UK population continues to be highly engaged with this category and our appetite for buying and sending greeting cards continues,” he added.

1D. Screenshot 2021-11-05 at 09.37.04While understandably there were small declines tracked in everyday, Christmas and Spring Seasons cards, there was an encouraging increase in the number and money spent on blank cards, both bought in store and online.

Of the latter, Amanda Fergusson, ceo of the GCA said that this underlines the huge surge in the sending cards featuring ‘Thinking of you’ or equally supportive messages. “Greeting cards really came into their own, like never before, as a way of enabling people to communicate their love and care for others, in these most challenging of times. And the sales figures are there to prove it,” she said.

Above: Amanda Fergusson, ceo of the GCA next to a wall installation at Top Drawer featuring a poem that Helen Walters of Shmuncki Verse wrote to tie in Thinking of You Week about the value of sending cards.
Above: Amanda Fergusson, ceo of the GCA next to a wall installation at Top Drawer featuring a poem that Helen Walters of Shmuncki Verse wrote to tie in Thinking of You Week about the value of sending cards.

The UK Market Report is available free of charge to full GCA members (from the Member’s area of the association’s website) while non-members can purchase it for £750.

Top: Even in the pandemic, greeting card sales have held up well.

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