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Greetings Cards - UK - October 2010

The report covers the UK market for greeting cards. The greeting card market is defined as including cards for Christmas, birthdays, spring season occasions (ie Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and Easter), other everyday occasions (anniversaries, good luck, get well and blank cards etc). Market sizes include money spent on ordering personalised greeting cards online. Although the report also looks at alternative greetings generated by computers or mobile phones, spend on these is not included in market size estimates. Corporate cards are excluded from market sizes.

  • There are warning signs that some consumers are beginning to object to paying too much for a greetings card. Although a third of consumers believe that the style of the card is more important than price, four in ten feel that cards are too expensive. One in five consumers have cut back their card spending compared with a year or two ago.
  • One fifth (21%) of consumers try to buy charity cards whenever they can and a quarter are willing to spend more if it’s for charity. Purchase of charity cards, however, remains largely confined to Christmas and Easter. Charitable cards for other occasions like birthdays, Valentine’s Day and Father’s and Mother’s Day remain an untapped market.
  • Engagements and weddings are occasions where consumers are slightly more inclined to spend more on something special because they want to be seen to be generous at this time of celebration. Also, their card is likely to be kept as a keepsake and so purchasers will be careful to choose something that they feel reflects the status of the occasion and their sentiments.
  • Rising demand for hand-crafted cards offers potential for card-making kits to be sold by conventional card shops, and not just in stationery departments or hobby shops. As well as inspiring consumers to make their own cards, craft cards would make suitable gifts for artistic children or adults.
  • The research from this report suggests that consumers rate ‘real’ cards and e-cards on different scales. For example, only 12% of consumers send e-cards or texts as well as greeting cards, just 8% use automatic reminders and only 5% use paid for e-card companies like Moonpig.
  • The market for greeting cards is substantial and worth approaching £24 per capita in 2010 (£1.48bn). Consumer spending on greeting cards has been flat for several years, but within the whole there is polarisation, with growing demand for special cards as well as lower-priced options.
  • Most innovation in cards is via new designs, colours and styles. But there are other innovations which are reshaping the market, particularly initiated by Moonpig, the online service that allows customers to order and personalise a card and have it posted directly to the recipient. Several imitators have stepped into this market which looks set to keep on gaining share of the overall market.

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Table of contents

  1. Issues in the Market

      • Key themes
        • Definition
          • Abbreviations
          • Future Opportunities

              • Championing the need to really connect
                • Fostering generosity
                • Market in Brief

                  • Flat consumer spend
                    • Everyday cards dominate the market
                      • Demand fairly predictable
                        • Population growth means expanding audience
                          • Availability of technology
                            • Saving the planet, but not at any price
                              • Electronic innovations
                                • Following the Moonpig
                                  • Card shops hold onto a third of the market
                                    • Small advertising spend
                                      • Types of card shopper
                                        • Outlook
                                        • Internal Market Environment

                                          • Key points
                                            • Ownership of technology
                                              • Figure 1: Ownership of selected technology items, 2006-10
                                            • Home computing widespread
                                              • Have an e-Christmas
                                                • Free e-cards
                                                  • Online shopping for cards
                                                    • The virtual calendar
                                                      • Generate your own on the PC
                                                        • Use an app
                                                          • Millions of occasions to celebrate
                                                            • Figure 2: Number of births, deaths and marriages in the UK, 2005-10
                                                          • Hatch, match and dispatch
                                                            • Congratulations
                                                              • Figure 3: Number of graduates, first degree, UK, 2005/06-2008/09
                                                            • Exam success
                                                              • Driving test passes
                                                                • New home
                                                                  • Figure 4: Number of completed property transactions in the UK, 2000-10
                                                                • Remembering friends at Christmas
                                                                  • Diverse Britain
                                                                    • Associations
                                                                      • The Greeting Card Association (GCA)
                                                                      • Broader Market Environment

                                                                        • Key points
                                                                          • Population growth
                                                                            • Figure 5: Trends in the age structure of the UK population, by gender, 2005-15
                                                                          • More people, so more cards
                                                                            • Socio-economic structure of the population
                                                                              • Figure 6: adult population trends, by socio-economic group, 2005-15
                                                                            • Saving the planet
                                                                              • Figure 7: agreement with statements relating to the environment, 2005-09
                                                                          • Strengths and Weaknesses

                                                                            • Strengths
                                                                              • Weaknesses
                                                                              • Who’s Innovating?

                                                                                • Key points
                                                                                  • New product developments
                                                                                    • Retail developments
                                                                                      • Online services
                                                                                        • Hallmark celebrating 30
                                                                                        • Competitive Context

                                                                                          • Key points
                                                                                            • Virtual greetings
                                                                                              • Figure 8: Ownership of selected technology items, 2006-10
                                                                                              • Figure 9: Type of activity undertaken on the internet in the last three months, April 2008-10
                                                                                            • Huge potential for e-greetings
                                                                                              • E-mail a familiar medium
                                                                                                • Fast growth for social networks
                                                                                                  • Pictures worth a thousand words
                                                                                                    • Figure 10: Selected features used on mobile phone, 2008-10
                                                                                                  • Not just talk
                                                                                                    • Craft cards
                                                                                                    • Market Size and Forecast

                                                                                                      • Key points
                                                                                                        • Steady demand for cards
                                                                                                          • Figure 11: UK retail value sales of greeting cards, at current and constant prices, 2005-15
                                                                                                          • Figure 12: UK retail volume sales of greetings cards, 2005-15
                                                                                                        • The future
                                                                                                          • Forecast
                                                                                                          • Segment Performance

                                                                                                            • Key points
                                                                                                              • Everyday cards dominate
                                                                                                                • Figure 13: UK value and volume sales of greeting cards, by sector, 2010
                                                                                                              • Christmas cards spend under pressure
                                                                                                                • Figure 14: UK retail value and volume sales of greeting cards, by sector, 2010
                                                                                                              • Dip in demand at Christmas
                                                                                                                • Figure 15: UK retail value and volume sales of Christmas cards, 2005-10
                                                                                                              • Everyday cards see steady demand
                                                                                                                • Figure 16: UK retail value and volume sales of everyday cards, 2005-10
                                                                                                              • Resilience of birthday cards
                                                                                                                • Polarising market
                                                                                                                  • Landmark occasions
                                                                                                                    • Spring cards – a bit more special
                                                                                                                      • Figure 17: UK retail value and volume sales of spring cards*, 2005-10
                                                                                                                    • Wanting to appear generous
                                                                                                                      • Risks of overstocking
                                                                                                                        • Not just Easter eggs
                                                                                                                          • Love to mums everywhere
                                                                                                                          • Market Share

                                                                                                                            • Key points
                                                                                                                              • Over half of market in hands of the majors
                                                                                                                                • Figure 18: Company shares of UK retail value sales of greetings cards, 2008 and 2010
                                                                                                                            • Companies and Products

                                                                                                                              • The Great British Card Company plc
                                                                                                                                • Ling Design
                                                                                                                                  • Carte Blanche Greetings
                                                                                                                                    • International Greetings Plc
                                                                                                                                      • Paper Rose
                                                                                                                                        • The Art Group
                                                                                                                                          • Simon Elvin
                                                                                                                                            • Moonpig
                                                                                                                                              • UK Greetings
                                                                                                                                                • Hallmark Cards UK
                                                                                                                                                • Brand Communication and Promotion

                                                                                                                                                  • Key points
                                                                                                                                                    • Small advertising spend
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 19: Main media advertising expenditure on greeting cards, by leading advertisers, 2007-10
                                                                                                                                                    • Moonpig raising awareness
                                                                                                                                                      • Hallmark personalises an ad for its personal cards
                                                                                                                                                      • Channels to Market

                                                                                                                                                        • Key points
                                                                                                                                                          • Exit of Woolworths favours supermarkets
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 20: UK retail value sales of greeting cards, by outlet type, 2006-10
                                                                                                                                                          • Store numbers
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 21: Specialist card retail multiples, estimated number of outlets, 2010
                                                                                                                                                          • Tough trading conditions precipitate fall-out
                                                                                                                                                            • Demise of Card Warehouse and Cardfair
                                                                                                                                                              • Farewell to Woolworths
                                                                                                                                                                • Clinton rationalisation
                                                                                                                                                                  • WH Smith
                                                                                                                                                                    • Clinton (and Birthdays)
                                                                                                                                                                      • Paperchase
                                                                                                                                                                        • Scribbler
                                                                                                                                                                          • Card Factory
                                                                                                                                                                            • Internet-based greeting card services
                                                                                                                                                                              • Personalised cards, ordered online
                                                                                                                                                                                • Online sellers
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Virtual greetings
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Moonpig
                                                                                                                                                                                      • Other online specialists
                                                                                                                                                                                      • The Consumer – Types of Occasions for Which Greeting Cards Are Purchased

                                                                                                                                                                                        • Key points
                                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 22: Occasions for which cards are purchased, December 2006 and July 2010.
                                                                                                                                                                                          • Cards are universal
                                                                                                                                                                                            • The gender divide
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 23: Occasions for which cards are purchased, by gender, July 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                            • Who looks after the card shopping?
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Christmas cards going off the boil?
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Who buys Christmas cards?
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 24: Purchasers of Christmas cards, by age, July 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                • A demonstration of love and affection
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Different cards for different age bands
                                                                                                                                                                                                    • About half buy 5+ cards
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 25: Repertoire of types of greeting cards purchased, July 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                    • What are they buying?
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 26: Types of greeting cards purchased, by number of types of greeting cards purchased, July 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Women buy more types of card
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 27: Repertoire of cards bought, by gender, July 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Attitudes Towards Buying Greeting Cards

                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Key points
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Four in ten find cards too expensive
                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 28: Attitudes towards buying greeting cards, July 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Price limits
                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Charity begins with women
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Paying more for special celebrations, but not for brands
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Buying Behaviour for Greeting Cards

                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Key points
                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Attitudes towards shopping for greeting cards
                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 29: Attitudes towards shopping for cards, July 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Make it easy
                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Close friends
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Leaving it until late
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Stocking up the letter rack
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Older consumers more charitable
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Coded pricing
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Virtual greetings
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Howling at the moon
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Remind me please
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Obscure occasions
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • How different consumers behave
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Charity begins at Christmas
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Target Groups

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Key points
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 30: Target groups for greeting cards, July 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Cautious Givers (16%)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Who are they?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Their buying behaviour
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • What cards they buy
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 31: Cards purchased by type, Cautious Givers, July 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Style Seekers (26%)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Who are they?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • What cards they buy
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 32: Cards purchased by type, Style Seekers, July 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Their buying behaviour
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Price Conscious (39%)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Who are they?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • What cards they buy
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 33: Cards purchased by type, Price Conscious, July 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Their buying behaviour
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Splashers (19%)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Who are they?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • What cards they buy
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 34: Cards purchased by type, Splashers, July 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Their buying behaviour
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Types of cards bought by customer groups
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 35: Repertoire of types bought, by customer typology, July 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Appendix – Competitive Context

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 36: Type of activity undertaken on the internet in the last three months, April 2005-10
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 37: Features used on mobile phone, 2006-10
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Appendix – The Consumer – Types of Occasions for Which Greeting Cards Are Purchased

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 38: Types of greeting cards purchased, July 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 39: Attitudes towards spend on greeting cards by repertoire of types of greeting cards purchased, July 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 40: Attitudes towards buying greeting cards, by repertoire of types of greeting cards purchased, July 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 41: Target groups, by repertoire of types of greeting cards purchased, July 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 42: Most popular types of greeting cards purchased, by demographics, July 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 43: Next most popular types of greeting cards purchased, by demographics, July 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 44: Other types of greeting cards purchased, by demographics, July 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 45: Repertoire of types of greeting cards purchased, by demographics, July 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Appendix – Attitudes Towards Buying Greeting Cards

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 46: Attitudes towards buying greeting cards, July 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 47: Attitudes towards buying greeting cards, by most popular types of greeting cards purchased, July 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 48: Attitudes towards buying greeting cards, by next most popular types of greeting cards purchased, July 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 49: Attitudes towards buying greeting cards, by other types of greeting cards purchased, July 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 50: Attitudes towards buying greeting cards, by least popular types of greeting cards purchased, July 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 51: Most popular attitudes towards buying greeting cards, by demographics, July 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 52: Next most popular attitudes towards buying greeting cards, by demographics, July 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Appendix – Buying Behaviour for Greeting Cards

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 53: Attitudes towards buying greeting cards, July 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 54: Attitudes towards buying greeting cards, by most popular attitudes to buying greeting cards, July 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 55: Attitudes towards buying greeting cards, by next most popular attitudes to buying greeting cards, July 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 56: Most popular attitudes towards buying greeting cards, by demographics, July 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 57: Next most popular attitudes to buying greeting cards, by demographics, July 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Appendix – Target Groups

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 58: Types of greeting cards purchased, by buying behaviour, July 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 59: Types of greeting cards purchased, by next most popular attitudes towards buying greeting cards, July 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 60: Attitudes towards spending on greeting cards, by target groups, July 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 61: Types of greeting cards purchased, by target groups, July 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 62: Types of greeting cards purchased, by target groups, July 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 63: Attitudes towards buying greeting cards, by target groups, July 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 64: Target groups, by demographics, July 2010

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Companies Covered

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Aldi Stores Ltd (UK & Ireland)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Alliance Boots UK Retail
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Amazon.co.uk
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • American Greetings Corporation
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Apple Retail UK
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Argos
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Asda Group Ltd
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Bebo Inc
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Birthdays Ltd
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Borders (UK) Ltd
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • British Heart Foundation
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Budget Greeting Cards
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Cancer Research UK
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Carte Blanche Greetings
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Clinton Cards Plc
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Co-operative Group
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Council of Mortgage Lenders
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Facebook, Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Filofax UK
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Forest Stewardship Council
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • FriendsReunited
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Google UK
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Government Actuary's Department (GAD)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Greeting Card Association
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Greeting Cards Association
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Greetings House Ltd
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Hallmark
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Higher Education Statistics Agency
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • International Greetings plc
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • J. Sainsbury
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Kantar Media
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Kelkoo S.A.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Lakeland Ltd
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • LEGO Company
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • LEGOLAND Windsor Park Ltd
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Lidl (UK)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Marks & Spencer
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Medici Cards
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Microsoft Ltd (UK)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Moonpig.com Limited
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • MSN UK
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • MySpace.com
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • National Trust (Enterprises) Ltd
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Netto Foodstores Ltd
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • OXFAM
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Paper Rose
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Paperchase Products Ltd
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Point-of-purchase Advertising Institute (POPAI)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • PriceRunner UK
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Pyramid International
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Royal Horticultural Society
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • RSPCA
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Simon Elvin Ltd
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Skype Technologies S.A.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Tesco Plc
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • The Art Group
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • The Great British Card Company
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • The Paper House Group plc
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • The Tussauds Group
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Thorntons Plc
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Twitter, Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • UK Greetings
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Waitrose
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Walt Disney Company, The
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Waterstones Booksellers
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Waterwells Distribution
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • WH Smith PLC
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Wilkinson Hardware Stores Ltd
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Wm Morrison Supermarkets
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Woolworths Group plc
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Yahoo! UK & Ireland
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • YouTube, Inc.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Greetings Cards - UK - October 2010

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              US $2,583.33 (Excl.Tax)