THE GREETING CARD CATEGORY may be the only scenario in which Millennial consumers will accept a low-speed connection. Though in this day and
age consumers have countless easier, faster
methods of sending messages, greeting cards
remain the most personal and thoughtful—
making the category viable and even profitable
in the internet era.
The spectrum of consumers shopping the
typically impulse-buy dominated category is
relatively large. Though they typically skew
female, most are between ages 25-54, spanning a range of generations.
Shoppers consider many factors when mull-
ing the card aisle looking for the perfect fit,
but to the surprise of some industry observers,
price is not the most important one. Officials
from Kansas City, Mo.-based Hallmark say
that only one-third of consumers will check
the price of a card before buying it. Many credit
this change to the success of high-end lines
like Papyrus, which have raised the acceptable
price considerably. “In fact, the premium card
category is seeing the fastest growth out of any
card category,” says James Melton, Hallmark’s
vice president/general manager.
Phil Cowley, chief marketing officer for
Design Design, based in Grand Rapids, Mich.,
says that in today’s dynamic retail environment, greeting cards require much more attention to physical characteristics, as opposed to
simply the imagery that is printed.
This can include trendy designs and value-added embellishments like bows, foil, glitter or die-cuts, all of which are all especially
attractive to consumers. The most important
factor, observers add, is sentiment and verse.
“Consumers want an authentic message they
can envision themselves saying, even if it is
something they wouldn’t have thought up on
their own,” Melton adds.
Peter Doherty, executive director of
the Greeting Cards Association, based in
Washington, D.C., says that consumers are
looking for choices, creativity, and cards that
ref lect either themselves or the card’s recipient.
“They also want personalization—anything
from the name, to the message, to custom
accents and designs,” he adds. “And consum-
ers appear to be willing to pay the higher price
associated with these cards, when they find
one that is uniquely theirs.”
Shoppers see their card as a differentiating
factor, which also contributes to their willing-
ness to pay the steeper prices—in some cases
up to $14 per card. “When you buy a card that
is handmade, it is more meaningful, and for
Millennials, who have more disposable income,
it is becoming very important to try and stand
out amongst the fray,” says Marc Salkovitz,
president of Via Bella, based in Wareham,
Mass. “This is who is buying cards, instead of
just saying happy birthday on Facebook, which
was the way for a few years. But you got lost in
the crowd. It became boring.”
Boring is not a way to describe the category.
There is no shortage of innovation in the greet-
ing cards aisle, as companies come out with
new collections and designs annually, season-
ally, and some even every couple of weeks.
Designer Greetings will debut three collections throughout 2016—Ooh La La, Way to
CASHING IN ON CARDS
From Millennials to Baby Boomers, greeting cards connect people, keeping the category strong.
BY ARIELLE SIDRANE