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Greeting Cards and eCards - US - February 2010

In the midst of a recession, people feel the need to connect more than ever. Even with the availability of instant modes of communication, the need to feel connected still exists. This is precisely why greeting cards have managed to stay relevant and continue to grow, even as they are absorbed into modern modes of connecting.

Since 2008 there has been significant innovation in the greeting card market. Sound clips are becoming more elaborate, and people can record their own messages. Webcams allow recipients to coexist in a state of augmented reality with the characters on their card. E-cards can be sent to mobile phones. Yet traditional cards are still appealing, though they may now involve intricate customization. Manufacturers are also creating ways for people to relay sentiments for even the most difficult of situations (someone with cancer, for example) as well as ways to let the consumer express unique feelings and images.

Mintel’s research in the greeting cards market discusses such issues as:

  • Who is more likely to purchase cards and to purchase more per occasion
  • What criteria do consumers look for when selecting a card
  • What role race and Hispanic origin plays in card selection
  • How e-cards have changed the overall card landscape
  • How advancing technology in cell phones, computers, and the internet have assisted the greeting cards market
  • How manufacturers differentiate themselves
  • Where consumers like to purchase cards
  • How card prices figure in with recessionary spending patterns
  • Potential growth opportunities

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Table of contents

  1. Scope and Themes

    • What you need to know
      • Definition
        • Data sources
          • Sales data
            • Consumer survey data
              • Advertising
                • Abbreviations and terms
                  • Abbreviations
                    • Terms
                    • Executive Summary

                      • Market stalls after vigorous growth
                        • The ease of communicating
                          • Fortunes differ in the three main segments
                            • Two players continue to dominate
                              • Technology and craftsmanship
                                • From augmented reality to low-brow humor
                                  • Market drivers
                                    • Advertising and promotions
                                      • Ethnicity and age make a difference
                                        • Impact of race and Hispanic origin
                                          • Age matters
                                          • Insights and Opportunities

                                            • Key points
                                              • Blacks are a key demographic
                                                • Using technology to enhance intimacy
                                                  • Partnering with social networks
                                                    • Branding for a new age
                                                    • Inspire Insights

                                                        • Divorce and the gift of giving
                                                          • What we’ve seen
                                                            • Opportunities for more occasion-specific cards
                                                            • Market Size and Forecast

                                                              • Key points
                                                                • A card for almost everyone
                                                                  • From simple to elaborate
                                                                    • Greeting card market size and forecast
                                                                      • Figure 1: Total U.S. sales and forecast of greeting cards, at current prices, 2004-14
                                                                      • Figure 2: Total U.S. sales and forecast of greeting cards, at inflation-adjusted prices, 2004-14
                                                                  • Competitive Context

                                                                    • Virtual gifts and social networks
                                                                      • Give a virtual gift
                                                                        • Instant Messaging and social networks
                                                                          • Other instant communication
                                                                            • Free eCards gnaw at the fringes
                                                                              • Would you like a greeting card with that?
                                                                              • Segment Performance

                                                                                • Key points
                                                                                  • Trimming some basics
                                                                                    • Who is buying more of what
                                                                                      • Sales of greeting cards by segment
                                                                                        • Figure 3: U.S. sales of selected greeting cards at current prices, by segment, 2004-09
                                                                                        • Figure 4: U.S. sales of greeting cards, by segment, 2007 and 2009
                                                                                    • Segment Performance—Christmas Cards

                                                                                      • Key points
                                                                                        • Slowing growth
                                                                                          • ‘Send a Card, Save a Tree’
                                                                                            • Discounts
                                                                                              • Sales of Christmas cards
                                                                                                • Figure 5: U.S. sales of Christmas cards, 2004-09
                                                                                            • Segment Performance—Birthday

                                                                                              • Key points
                                                                                                • Birthdays are being remembered
                                                                                                  • Elaborate humor
                                                                                                    • Appeal to the kids
                                                                                                      • Sales of birthday cards
                                                                                                        • Figure 6: U.S. sales of birthday cards, 2004-09
                                                                                                    • Segment Performance—Other Holidays

                                                                                                      • Key points
                                                                                                        • Valentine’s Day
                                                                                                          • Father’s Day
                                                                                                            • Easter
                                                                                                              • Mother’s Day
                                                                                                                • Halloween
                                                                                                                  • Sales of other cards
                                                                                                                    • Figure 7: U.S. sales of other holiday cards, 2004-09
                                                                                                                • Segment Performance—Online Greeting Cards

                                                                                                                  • Key points
                                                                                                                    • The eCard effect
                                                                                                                      • It is just fun
                                                                                                                        • The green movement
                                                                                                                          • When you don’t really want to get a greeting
                                                                                                                            • Sales of online cards
                                                                                                                              • Figure 8: U.S. sales of online greetings cards, 2004-09
                                                                                                                          • Market Drivers

                                                                                                                            • Key points
                                                                                                                              • An aging population will drive sales
                                                                                                                                • Figure 9: Incidence of greeting card purchases in past three months, by age, April 2008-June 2009
                                                                                                                                • Figure 10: U.S. population, by age, 2005-15
                                                                                                                              • Women send greeting cards
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 11: Incidence of greeting card purchases in past three months, by gender, April 2008-June 2009
                                                                                                                                • Technology and the internet drive the category
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 12: Incidence of greeting card purchases in past three months, by race/Hispanic origin, April 2008-June 2009
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 13: Household income distribution, by race and Hispanic origin of householder, 2008
                                                                                                                              • Leading Companies

                                                                                                                                • Key points
                                                                                                                                  • Hallmark
                                                                                                                                    • American Greetings
                                                                                                                                      • Leanin’ Tree
                                                                                                                                        • Gallant Greetings
                                                                                                                                          • Avanti Press
                                                                                                                                          • Brand Qualities

                                                                                                                                            • Greeting cards have to evolve with modern culture
                                                                                                                                              • Hallmark
                                                                                                                                                • Hallmark leverages pop culture
                                                                                                                                                  • Non-traditional
                                                                                                                                                    • Traditional meets tech
                                                                                                                                                      • American Greetings
                                                                                                                                                        • Focusing on the artistry
                                                                                                                                                          • Using technology
                                                                                                                                                            • Love of pop culture
                                                                                                                                                              • The traditional
                                                                                                                                                              • Innovation and Innovators

                                                                                                                                                                • Interactive
                                                                                                                                                                  • Off-color humor
                                                                                                                                                                    • When they are really out of touch
                                                                                                                                                                    • Advertising and Promotion

                                                                                                                                                                      • Key points
                                                                                                                                                                        • Overview
                                                                                                                                                                          • Hallmark advertising (television ads)
                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 14: Hallmark “Give the gift of your voice,” 2009
                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 15: Music student ad, 2009
                                                                                                                                                                          • The 100th anniversary of Hallmark
                                                                                                                                                                            • American Greetings
                                                                                                                                                                              • Advertising strategies: Brand building
                                                                                                                                                                                • Cross-merchandising opportunities
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Cause marketing
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Purchasing Frequency

                                                                                                                                                                                    • Key points
                                                                                                                                                                                      • Buying for holidays and birthdays
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 16: Frequency of greeting card purchase, by gender, December 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                      • 18-24s buying birthday cards
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 17: Frequency of greeting card purchase, by age, December 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                      • Affluence and purchasing cards
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 18: Frequency of greeting card purchase, by household income, December 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Average Greeting Card Spend

                                                                                                                                                                                      • Key points
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Mean spend $2.20 per occasion
                                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 19: Typical spend on cards, by gender, December 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                        • For 18-24s it depends
                                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 20: Typical spend on cards, by age, December 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Affluent and willing to splurge
                                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 21: Cost of cards purchased, by household income, December 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                      • Where Cards Are Purchased

                                                                                                                                                                                        • Key points
                                                                                                                                                                                          • Where they shop: Mass merchandisers, drug stores, dollar stores
                                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 22: Where people buy greeting cards, by gender, December 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                          • 25-34 and buying at a mass merchandiser
                                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 23: Where people buy greeting cards, by age, December 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                          • Affluent and buying at specialty shops
                                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 24: Where people buy greeting cards, by household income, December 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Types of Cards Purchased

                                                                                                                                                                                          • Key points
                                                                                                                                                                                            • Did you hear the one about…?
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 25: Types of cards purchased, by gender, December 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                            • Humor for 18-24s, religious for 45+s
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 26: Types of cards purchased, by age, December 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                          • Purchasing Behaviors and Attitudes

                                                                                                                                                                                            • Key points
                                                                                                                                                                                              • It’s the thought that counts… as long as it’s convenient
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 27: Attitudes towards greeting cards and purchasing behavior, by gender, December 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Those aged 45+ prize efficient shopping trips
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 28: Attitudes towards greeting cards and purchasing behavior, by age, December 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Copy sells; art and brand name doesn’t
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 29: Most important factors when buying a greeting card, by gender, December 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Different motivations for different demographics
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 30: Most important factors when buying a greeting card, by age, December 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                            • eCards

                                                                                                                                                                                              • Key points
                                                                                                                                                                                                • A three-way tie
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 31: Sites used to send eCards, by gender, December 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Affluent and brand-conscious
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 32: Sites used to send eCards, by household income, December 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                                • A bright future for eCards
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 33: Attitudes towards eCards, by age, December 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Impact of Race and Hispanic Origin

                                                                                                                                                                                                • Key points
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Blacks and Hispanics buy birthday cards
                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 34: Frequency of greeting card purchase, by race/Hispanic origin, December 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Drug and dollar stores preferred by black respondents
                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 35: Where people buy greeting cards, by race/Hispanic origin, December 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Blacks spend more
                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 36: Cost of cards purchased, by race/Hispanic origin, December 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • More at once for black respondents
                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 37: Attitudes towards greeting cards and purchasing behavior, by race/Hispanic origin, December 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • What Asians want
                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 38: Factors when making purchase decision, by race/Hispanic origin, December 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Humor reigns, but sentiment is a close second
                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 39: Types of cards purchased, by race/Hispanic origin, December 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • What about eCards?
                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 40: Attitudes about eCards, by race/Hispanic origin, December 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Cluster Analysis

                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Emotionals
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Who they are
                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Opportunity
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Pragmatists
                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Who they are
                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Opportunity
                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Jesters
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Who they are
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Opportunity
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Cluster characteristics
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 41: Greeting card clusters, December 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 42: Attitudes towards greeting cards and purchasing behavior, by greeting card clusters, December 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 43: Important factors when buying greeting cards, by greeting card clusters, December 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 44: Types of cards purchased, by greeting card clusters, December 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Cluster demographics
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 45: Greeting card clusters, by gender, December 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 46: Greeting card clusters, by age group, December 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 47: Greeting card clusters, by household income, December 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 48: Greeting card clusters, by race, December 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 49: Greeting card clusters, by Hispanic origin, December 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Cluster methodology
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Custom Consumer Groups

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Key points
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Gender and age
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 50: Frequency of greeting card purchase, by gender and age, December 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Kids mean more eCards
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 51: Greeting eCard habits, by marital status and presence of children in HH, December 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Appendix: Trade Associations

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Companies Covered

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • AG Interactive
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • American Greetings Corporation
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Burger King Corporation
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Costco Wholesale Corporation
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Crayola LLC
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Crown Media Holdings, Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • CVS Caremark Corporation
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Debenhams Total (GTV)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Economist Group Limited (The)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Facebook, Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Family Dollar Stores, Inc
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Food Marketing Institute
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Google, Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Greenfield Online
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Greeting Card Association
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Grocery Manufacturers of America (GMA)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Hallmark
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Kohl's Corporation
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Leanin' Tree, Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Marvel Entertainment
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • MySpace.com
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • National Retail Federation (NRF)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Paramount Cards Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • SAM's Club
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Skype Technologies S.A.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Snapfish
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Target Corporation
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • The New York Times Company
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Turner Broadcasting System, Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Twitter, Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • U.S. Bureau of the Census
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Walgreen Co
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Walmart Stores (USA)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Walt Disney Company, The
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • YouTube, Inc.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Greeting Cards and eCards - US - February 2010

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