The greeting card category is shifting. Category giants American Greetings and Hallmark face the threat of competition from e-cards and are challenged by increased segmentation of the card category. Hallmark estimates that over the past decade, the number of greeting cards sold in the United States has dropped from 6 billion to 5 billion annually.
The Greeting Card Association reports that while greeting card unit sales have fluctuated over the past several years, the industry continues to generate annual revenues of $7 billion to $8 billion.
A leaner, meaner category can be profitable for retailers. A recent study commissioned by Avanti Press revealed that humor was by far the most popular type of greeting card. “Of consumers surveyed, 96% said they prefer funny greeting cards,” said Marc Trobman, VP business development for Avanti. Trobman said a majority of consumers want greeting cards with goofy — rather than edgy — humor.
Avanti’s study also found that consumers will pay more for cards they believe offer added value. Cards featuring sound, light, motion, video and pop-up aspects have become more prevalent, and consumers are trading up when they feel there’s value in the product. Avanti recently introduced a coaster card as part of its StandOuts line. The card includes a pop-out drink coaster stamped with “Happy Birthday” inside.
“The card is priced at $4.99, a premium over our core card price of $2.99, but consumers will pay it because they see the value in the added coaster that can be used later,” Trobman said.
“Today the greeting card and stationery market is increasingly shifting from mass to ‘class.’ One-size cards no longer fit many or most,” said Pam Danziger, president of Unity Marketing.