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Greetings Cards & Personal Stationery Retailing - UK - May 2019

Covered in this report

This report covers the UK market for greetings cards and personal stationery.

The greetings card market includes greetings cards for birthdays, seasonal occasions (ie Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and Easter) and other everyday occasions (birthdays, anniversaries, good luck and blank cards etc). It includes cards from print-on-demand companies as well as conventional paper greetings cards.

Personal stationery covers anything that people use for writing, including paper, envelopes, journals, diaries, notepads, pencil cases, pens and pencils. But we exclude stationery for home office consumption as well as other home office supplies. Art and craft supplies are also excluded.

“The greetings card and personal stationery markets have held up, despite the tendency for so many forms of communication to be purely digital these days. Even with the availability of digital calendars and diaries, consumers remain enthusiastic about physical versions, responding to innovative and fashionable styling and buying journals and personal organisers to help them manage their lives and emotions. Growth in consumer spending on greetings cards is being driven by heightened demand for single cards, particularly at Christmas.

Card shops remain popular, but face stiff competition as the supermarkets make strenuous efforts to create better non-food areas within their big-surface shops. The shift to buying online has begun to have an impact on stationery retailers, changing the economics of running a chain of shops. Expect more sales to migrate online in the next five years.”

– Jane Westgarth, Senior Retail Analyst

This report examines the following issues:

  • Online shopping for cards and stationery will grow
  • Will shoppers for cards and stationery become more price-sensitive?
  • Will supermarkets continue to grow market share of cards and stationery?

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Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Products covered in this Report
      • Executive Summary

          • The market
            • Resilient market for greetings cards
              • Figure 1: Consumer spending on greetings cards, 2013-23
            • Growth of the personal stationery market has been driven by style
              • Figure 2: Consumer spending on personal stationery, 2013-23
            • Single cards dominate the market
              • Figure 3: Consumer spending on greetings cards, by segment, estimates, 2018
            • Companies and brands
              • Card Factory has an impressive track record
                • 90% of card purchasers favour bricks-and-mortar shops
                  • Figure 4: Distribution of greetings card, by type of retailer, 2018 (est)
                • Mixed fortunes for stationery retailers
                  • Figure 5: Distribution of personal stationery, by type of retailer, 2018 (est)
                • The consumer
                  • Birthdays are the biggest driver of card sales
                    • Figure 6: Purchases of greetings cards, February 2019
                  • 74% think their greetings card shopping has stayed the same
                    • Figure 7: Changes in shopping patterns for greetings cards, February 2019
                  • People will always buy for family members
                    • Figure 8: Recipients people would always buy cards for, February 2019
                  • Card shops and supermarkets are the most used types of retailer for greetings cards
                    • Figure 9: Type of retailers used for buying greetings cards, February 2019
                  • Card Factory has potential to increase share in London
                    • Figure 10: Greetings card retailers used in the last 12 months, February 2019
                  • Card purchasing patterns shaped by convenience
                    • Figure 11: Factors influencing choice of card retailer, February 2019
                  • 16-24s are most inclined to buy personal stationery
                    • Figure 12: Bought any personal stationery in the last year, by age, February 2019
                  • WH Smith is the most used retailer for personal stationery
                    • Figure 13: Retailers used for personal stationery in the last year, February 2019
                  • Stationery shoppers are price-sensitive
                    • Figure 14: Factors influencing choice of retailer for personal stationery, February 2019
                  • What we think
                  • Issues and Insights

                    • Online shopping for cards and stationery will grow
                      • The facts
                        • The implications
                          • Will shoppers for cards and stationery become more price-sensitive?
                            • The facts
                              • The implications
                                • Will supermarkets continue to grow market share of cards and stationery?
                                  • The facts
                                    • The implications
                                    • The Market – What You Need to Know

                                      • Greetings card market is resilient
                                        • The stationery market is driven by style
                                          • Single cards account for more than 80% of spending
                                            • Card shops capture almost 44% market share by value
                                              • Print-on-demand reaches 7%
                                                • Grocers benefit from convenience
                                                  • Population growth is slowing
                                                    • Internet use has grown rapidly
                                                      • Desktop and laptop computers favoured by online shoppers
                                                      • Market Size and Forecast

                                                        • Resilient market for greetings cards
                                                          • Figure 15: Consumer spending on greetings cards, 2013-23
                                                        • Little growth expected between 2018 and 2023
                                                          • Figure 16: Consumer spending on greetings cards, at current and constant 2018 prices, 2013-23
                                                        • Growth of the personal stationery market has been driven by style
                                                          • Figure 17: Consumer spending on personal stationery, 2013-23
                                                        • Tough forecast conditions for stationery
                                                          • Figure 18: Consumer spending on personal stationery, 2013-23
                                                        • Forecast methodology
                                                        • Market Segmentation

                                                          • Cards are an individual thing
                                                            • Personalising cards
                                                              • Figure 19: Consumer spending on greetings cards, by segment, 2018 (est)
                                                            • Print-on-demand has shown strong growth
                                                              • Figure 20: Consumer spending on greetings cards, 2013-18
                                                            • Christmas and Spring Season cards can add value
                                                              • Figure 21: Single cards, share by value, 2018
                                                            • Personal stationery sales growth slows
                                                            • Channels to Market

                                                              • Card shops capture almost 44% market share by value
                                                                • Print-on-demand operators improve share
                                                                  • Grocers benefit from convenience
                                                                    • Life for independents
                                                                      • Other retailers
                                                                        • Figure 22: Distribution of greetings cards, by channel, 2014-18 (est)
                                                                      • Grocers grow share of personal stationery
                                                                        • Figure 23: Distribution of personal stationery, by channel, 2014-18 (est)
                                                                    • Market Drivers

                                                                      • Population growth is slowing
                                                                        • Figure 24: Population of the UK, 2013-23
                                                                      • Over-55s show highest rate of growth
                                                                        • Figure 25: Population of the UK, percentage change, by age band, 2013-23
                                                                      • 30% of the population are over-55s
                                                                        • Figure 26: Age profile of the UK population, 2018
                                                                      • More than 90% of 16-64s use the internet
                                                                        • Figure 27: Internet used in the last 3 months, by age band, 2013 and 2018
                                                                      • Desktop and laptop computers favoured by online shoppers
                                                                        • Figure 28: Shopped online in the last three months, by device, September 2018
                                                                      • Plenty of occasions for greetings
                                                                        • Figure 29: Births, marriages and deaths, UK, 2013 and 2017
                                                                      • Welcome to your new home
                                                                        • Figure 30: UK housing transactions, 2014-18
                                                                      • Welcome to your rented home
                                                                        • Figure 31: Time in current home, by tenure, November 2018
                                                                      • Graduations, driving tests and more
                                                                        • Back-to-school stimulates stationery spending
                                                                          • Seasonal purchases attract a large audience
                                                                          • Companies and Brands – What You Need to Know

                                                                            • Card Factory is the largest greetings chain
                                                                              • High growth for online sellers
                                                                                • Rapid growth at Smiggle and The Works helped by new store openings and online growth
                                                                                  • Troubled retailers in greetings and stationery
                                                                                    • Like-for-like sales growth is proving elusive
                                                                                      • WH Smith’s retail mix is changing
                                                                                        • Print-on-demand sellers grow share
                                                                                        • Companies and Brands

                                                                                          • Broad sector with variety of retail formats
                                                                                            • Tough competition in the card market
                                                                                              • Star performances by online sellers, new entrants and The Works
                                                                                                  • Figure 32: Leading greetings cards and stationery retailer revenues, 2013-18
                                                                                                • Changes of ownership and store closures
                                                                                                  • Administration for Office Outlet
                                                                                                    • WH Smith pulls the plug on Cardmarket
                                                                                                      • Paperchase enters CVA
                                                                                                        • Figure 33: Leading greetings card and stationery retailers, store numbers, 2013-18
                                                                                                      • Crucial for retailers to grow store productivity
                                                                                                        • Ryman’s stores have achieved steady growth
                                                                                                          • Sales per outlet fall at WH Smith as travel increases share of the business
                                                                                                            • Paperchase’s sales per outlet influenced by growth of online
                                                                                                              • Card retailers see static sales per outlet
                                                                                                                • Scribbler, Tiger and Smiggle grow store productivity
                                                                                                                  • Figure 34: Leadings greetings card and stationery retailers, sales per store, 2013-18
                                                                                                              • Market Share

                                                                                                                • Market share of greetings
                                                                                                                  • Card Factory edges ahead, as WH Smith and Clinton lose share
                                                                                                                    • WH Smith’s retail mix is changing
                                                                                                                      • Print-on-demand sellers grow share
                                                                                                                        • Paperchase has held market share
                                                                                                                          • Cards Galore and Scribbler mark time, while Smiggle grows market share
                                                                                                                            • Figure 35: Greetings cards market share, by value, 2013-18
                                                                                                                          • Market share of personal stationery
                                                                                                                            • WH Smith is the leading retailer for personal stationery
                                                                                                                              • Office Outlet has lost share
                                                                                                                                • The Works grows strongly
                                                                                                                                  • Smiggle has strong appeal to kids
                                                                                                                                    • Figure 36: Personal stationery market share, by value, 2013-18
                                                                                                                                  • Pen Shop is the largest pen specialist chain
                                                                                                                                  • Competitive Strategies

                                                                                                                                    • WH Smith trialling new store concepts
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 37: WH Smith, high street shop, 2019
                                                                                                                                    • Card Factory has grown through new store openings
                                                                                                                                        • Figure 38: Card Factory shop, 2019
                                                                                                                                      • Paperchase launches CVA with a view to cost savings and closures
                                                                                                                                        • Clinton Cards all fully rebranded
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 39: Clintons, typical shop, 2019
                                                                                                                                        • Moonpig rebranded to be less gimmicky and emphasise its personal touch
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 40: Moonpig, new identity, 2017
                                                                                                                                      • Launch Activity and Innovation

                                                                                                                                        • Paper planners continue to be relevant
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 41: Perfect Planner Diary Accessories, Busy B, 2019
                                                                                                                                        • Journaling stationery increasingly popular
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 42: Journal, by allsorteduk.com, 2019
                                                                                                                                        • Overlapping styling between cards and stationery
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 43: Example of modern calligraphy, 2019
                                                                                                                                        • Redesigning everyday pens
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 44: bLen pen, Zebra, 2019
                                                                                                                                        • WH Smith injects more style
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 45: WH Smith, stationery collections, 2019
                                                                                                                                      • Advertising and Marketing Activity

                                                                                                                                        • Relatively small adspend for the sector
                                                                                                                                          • Advertising spend falls by a third in 2018
                                                                                                                                            • Figure 46: Total above-the-line, online display and direct mail advertising expenditure on greetings cards and stationery, 2014-18
                                                                                                                                          • WH Smith accounts for more than 20% of spending
                                                                                                                                            • Figure 47: Above-the-line, online display and direct mail advertising expenditure on greetings cards and stationery, selected retailers, 2014-18
                                                                                                                                          • 59% of spend is on television
                                                                                                                                            • Figure 48: Above-the-line, online display and direct mail advertising expenditure on greetings cards and stationery, by media type, 2018
                                                                                                                                          • Advertising specifics
                                                                                                                                            • Figure 49: Moonpig, television advert (still) for Mother’s Day, 2019
                                                                                                                                          • Nielsen Ad Intel coverage
                                                                                                                                          • Brand Research

                                                                                                                                              • Brand map
                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 50: Attitudes towards and usage of selected brands, April 2019
                                                                                                                                                • Key brand metrics
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 51: Key metrics for selected brands, April 2019
                                                                                                                                                  • Brand attitudes: Card Factory stands out for good value
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 52: Attitudes, by brand, April 2019
                                                                                                                                                  • Brand personality: Scribbler and Paperchase are fun brands
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 53: Brand personality – macro image, April 2019
                                                                                                                                                  • Card Factory has a basic image
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 54: Brand personality – micro image, April 2019
                                                                                                                                                    • Brand analysis
                                                                                                                                                      • Card Factory is an outstanding brand with broad appeal
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 55: User profile of Card Factory, April 2019
                                                                                                                                                      • Brand analysis
                                                                                                                                                        • Paperchase is stylish, fun and worth paying more for
                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 56: User profile of Paperchase, April 2019
                                                                                                                                                        • Brand analysis
                                                                                                                                                          • Scribbler is fun and innovative
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 57: User profile of Scribbler, April 2019
                                                                                                                                                          • Brand analysis
                                                                                                                                                            • WH Smith is widely known, trustworthy and offers good value for money
                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 58: User profile of WH Smith, April 2019
                                                                                                                                                            • Brand analysis
                                                                                                                                                              • Hallmark enjoys high levels of awareness
                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 59: User profile of Hallmark, April 2019
                                                                                                                                                              • Brand analysis
                                                                                                                                                                • Clintons is fairly well trusted but lacks differentiation
                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 60: User profile of Clintons, April 2019
                                                                                                                                                                • Brand analysis
                                                                                                                                                                • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                                                                                                                                                  • Birthdays are the biggest driver of card sales
                                                                                                                                                                    • 74% think their greetings card shopping has stayed the same
                                                                                                                                                                      • Family members are always remembered with greetings cards
                                                                                                                                                                        • Card shops and supermarkets are the most used types of retailer for greetings cards
                                                                                                                                                                          • Card Factory has more potential in the London area
                                                                                                                                                                            • Card purchasing patterns shaped by convenience
                                                                                                                                                                              • 16-24s are most inclined to buy personal stationery
                                                                                                                                                                                • WH Smith is the most used retailer for personal stationery
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Stationery shoppers are price-sensitive
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Greetings Card Purchases

                                                                                                                                                                                    • Birthdays are the biggest driver of card sales
                                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 61: Purchases of greetings cards, February 2019
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Broad spread of card shoppers
                                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 62: Purchases of greetings cards, repertoire of occasions, February 2019
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Those buying for fewer occasions tend to be younger
                                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 63: Purchases of greetings cards, repertoire of occasions, by occasion, February 2019
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Changes in Shopping Patterns for Greetings Cards

                                                                                                                                                                                    • 74% buy about the same number of greetings cards as a year ago
                                                                                                                                                                                      • Older shoppers are set in their ways
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Cards are not essential to those in financial difficulties
                                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 64: Changes in shopping patterns for greetings cards, February 2019
                                                                                                                                                                                      • Recipients People Would Always Buy Cards For

                                                                                                                                                                                        • People will always buy for family members
                                                                                                                                                                                          • Cards for friends a more feminine thing
                                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 65: Recipients people would always buy cards for, February 2019
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Type of Retailer Used for Buying Greetings Cards

                                                                                                                                                                                          • Card shops and supermarkets are the most used types of retailer for greetings cards
                                                                                                                                                                                            • Online sellers popular with Millennials
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Gift shops attract 16-24s
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Families with children most inclined to buy at supermarkets
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 66: Type of retailers used for buying greetings cards, February 2019
                                                                                                                                                                                                • 41% of card shoppers use one type of retailer
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 67: Type of retailers used for buying greetings cards, repertoire, February 2019
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Card shops are a destination for greetings
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 68: Type of retailers used for buying greetings cards, February 2019
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Greetings Card Retailers Used in the Last 12 Months

                                                                                                                                                                                                • Card Factory is weakest in the London area
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Upscale bias to Clintons shoppers
                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Independents capture 16%
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • 24% of 25-34s used Moonpig
                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Paperchase most used by 16-34s
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • WH Smith is popular for greetings cards
                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 69: Greetings card retailers used in the last 12 months, February 2019
                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Factors Influencing Choice of Card Retailer

                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Price and convenience shape shopping choices
                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Older shoppers rate convenience more highly
                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Men appear more interested in humorous cards
                                                                                                                                                                                                                • 16-24s like to personalise card designs
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Older and more affluent shoppers like to support charities
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 70: Factors influencing choice of card retailer, February 2019
                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Retailers Used for Personal Stationery

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • 16-24s are most inclined to buy personal stationery
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 71: Bought any personal stationery in the last year, by age, February 2019
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Supermarkets lead the way
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • WH Smith is a powerful player
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Rise of the discounters
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Amazon has a major position in stationery
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Ryman appeals to male shoppers
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Paperchase captures a young, affluent shopper group
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 72: Retailers used for personal stationery in the last year, February 2019
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Little breadth of shopping habits for personal stationery
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 73: Repertoire of retailers used for personal stationery in the last year, February 2019
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • 14% just used one retailer for personal stationery
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 74: Retailers used for personal stationery in the last year, by repertoire of retailers used, February 2019
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Factors Influencing Choice of Retailer for Personal Stationery

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • 35-54s are concerned about price
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Fashionable or classic styling?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Online shopping has wide appeal
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Power of brands
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Older shoppers choose stationery as gifts
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Child appeal is a key driving force
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Personalising has two key audiences
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 75: Factors influencing choice of retailer for personal stationery, February 2019
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Appendix – Data Sources, Abbreviations and Supporting Information

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Abbreviations
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Consumer research methodology
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Appendix – Market Size and Forecast

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Forecast methodology

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Greetings Cards & Personal Stationery Retailing - UK - May 2019

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