Fewer Consumers Will Show their Love this Valentine's Day with the Purchase of a Greeting Card

Written by Pamela N. Danziger. Posted in The Luxury Market Business

valentine's day luxury greeting card

New Unity Marketing report finds consumers cutting back on Valentine's Day greetings card -- Make-your-own-cards offer consumers an attractive alternative with the personal touch

Valentine's Day is the third most popular holiday for greeting cards, behind Christmas and Mother's Day, but marketers in this space may not get their typical first quarter lift from card sales this year.  In 2009 fewer consumers purchased greeting cards for holidays and occasions, such as birthdays, anniversaries and others, as compared to 2007 levels and this trend toward fewer greeting cards is expected to continue in 2010, according to a new study of the greeting card and stationery market from Unity Marketing.

In 2009 the share of consumers that purchased Valentine's Day greeting cards dropped sharply, from 50 percent of greeting card purchasers in 2007 to 41 percent.  Consumers also cut back at similar levels in purchases of Christmas and Father's Day cards, as well as wedding/shower, thank you and new baby cards.  It is the effect of the recession in action, where budget-conscious shoppers cut back on unnecessary spending.  So in 2009 the tradition of sending holiday and occasion greeting cards took a hit.  This resulted in a decline of 2.5 percent in the over $11 billion greeting card market from 2007 to 2009.
"The recession is easing, but it isn't over yet," says Pam Danziger, president of Unity Marketing and author of the book, Shopping: Why We Love it and How Retailers Can Create the Ultimate Customer Experience.  "Shoppers have grown accustomed to making the little choices that will save them money, and greeting cards, it turns out, are an easy cut to make."

While shoppers cut back in their purchase of pre-printed greeting cards, many are finding a more meaningful alternative in the growing trend in make-your-own-cards.  "In our research, we found a strong upward trend in make-your-own-cards.  While sales of greeting cards declined, the amount consumers spent on make-your-own card supplies nearly doubled from 2007 to 2009," says Danziger.

"By crafting their own greetings using widely available kits and card making supplies, people can express their personal feelings, all the while creating a keepsake item that the recipient is likely to save as a memento.  Borrowing a phrase popularized by industry-giant Hallmark, today 'when you care enough to send the very best,' more people are choosing to make their own personalized greeting."

"Rather than fighting the trend toward fewer standard greetings, savvy retailers could turn the emerging trend toward make-your-own cards to their advantage by hosting make-your-own card night for upcoming holidays, like Valentine's Day, Easter, Mother's Day.  The store supplies the inspiration, the table space and the basics, like scissors and glue, and customers buy the materials.  People will leave with a one-of-a-kind card memento for the recipient, a great experience for themselves, and, very likely, they will spend more in total buying the doodads and embellishments to craft their personalized greeting than they would buying one off-the-shelf card."

About Unity Marketing's latest report on the greeting card and stationery markets

The latest edition of the Greeting Card, Stationery, Gift Wrap and Party Goods and Paper Gifting Market Report is based upon a survey conducted in November 2009 among 1,436 recent category buyers.  This study provides the latest market intelligence for marketers and retailers that compete in the $41 billion retail market for paper products and stationery goods.  In other words, this study looks at the overall market for paper products that people use to communicate, to express oneself, to celebrate and to craft.

The new report is an important source of trend information for competitors in this category.  The report compares the latest survey results with those conducted in 2007 and 2005.  Throughout the study, the effects of the recession on the consumers active in this category are seen, as they change the products they buy, the amount they spend and the places where they shop.  While the study measures the recession's impact, the report also allows marketers to get a view of what the stationery market will look like as the recession eases through this year and into 2011-2012.  In this way the report becomes an important tool for market and strategic planning post-recession.

This report gives a comprehensive view of the paper goods market and includes the following product categories:

  • Greeting cards, specifically pre-printed greeting cards, note cards with non-preprinted greetings; boxed greeting or note cards; Christmas cards; pre-printed invitations, thank you cards; custom-printed cards, invitations, etc.;

  • Stationery,such as writing paper, social stationery, business stationery, specialty paper for stationery uses, special paper for computers including photograph printing from computer, decorated paper and/or cards, such as print-your-own cards or invitations, and/or full-sized 8 1/2 x 11 paper, print-your-own banners, including special papers for computer printing, etc.

  • Other Paper and Stationery Items, such as blank books and journals, decorative hanging calendars, date books, specialty pens and writing instruments, such as fountain pens, calligraphy supplies, desk accessories, etc.

  • Gifting and Party Supplies, such as paper gift wrap, gift bags, ribbons and bows, party ware and paper party supplies, etc.

  • Paper Crafting and Hobby Supplies, such as scrapbooking supplies and kits, make-your-own card supplies and kits, stamps and stamp supplies, stickers, photo albums,  memory albums, like baby, wedding memory books, specialty paper.

The objective of this study is to provide greeting card, social stationery and other stationery products, gift wrap and party goods and paper crafting product marketers and retailers insights about the consumer market for their products.  The report focuses on market opportunities available to product manufacturers and retailers to help them deliver products and services that satisfy the consumers' craving for paper products to communicate, express oneself, celebrate and to craft.

With a focus on consumers, their buying behavior, needs, desires and preferences, this research study includes research data and statistics about:

  • Stationery Goods Market Size and Growth:  What is the size of the overall stationery goods market, as well as the six key product segments (e.g. greeting cards, social stationery, custom-printed cards and stationery, gift wrap and party goods, paper crafting products and other stationery products) and how rapidly is it growing?   How is the stationery goods market segmented by type of product?

  • Demographics of the Stationery Goods Market: What are the demographic characteristics of people who buy stationery goods products? How is stationery goods buying behavior influenced by demographic segments (e.g., gender, age, household income (HHI), size, composition, ethnicity/race, education, etc.)?

  • Stationery Goods Buying Behavior:  What are the primary characteristics of the consumers' buying behavior related to stationery goods in general and the four product segments (e.g. greeting cards, social stationery, custom printed stationary and cards, gift wrap and party goods, paper crafting products and other stationery products) in particular?  Why do they buy these goods and how do consumers motivations different by product category segment?  Where do they shop for the different types of stationery products; what factors influence their decision making; how much do they spend buying each of the stationery goods product segments and across the entire stationery goods category; what is the role of brand in stationery goods product selections and shopping choices?  How do different demographic segments differ in their shopping and buying behavior?

  • Psychographic Profile and Segmentation of the Greeting Card Markets: A psychographic profile of the greeting card buyers is developed in this report.  The profiles identify four different types or personalities of consumers of greeting card.  These profiles identify different drives and motivations found among consumers in purchasing greeting cards; what factors are more or less important in driving greeting card purchasing decisions; and how can greeting card marketers and retailers better understand the hearts and minds of their consumers.  In essence, we discover 'why people buy greeting cards.'


About  Pam Danziger and Unity Marketing


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