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Growth of the greeting card industry in the USA

By Popup Cut on Nov 05, 2022

Greeting card production in commercial quantities started in 1860, the first offerings being valentines with applied Christmas ornaments and verses.

These were followed by embossed or lithographed letter sheets and envelopes in multiple colours with matching cards. The latter were actually visiting cards with holiday sentiments, similar to the sentiment cards so popular earlier in the U.S.

Louis Prang of Boston is called the “father of the American Christmas card.” He started with sets of album cards (flora, birds, animals) and continued with Civil War scenes by Winslow Homer. He also printed advertising and visiting cards with floral designs and in 1875 added seasonal greetings.

Prang cards were among the best in the market and were much admired abroad. He instituted design competitions in 1880, a practice continued later in England by Raphael Tuck and in the U.S. with Hallmark Cards Art awards. Prang’s business flourished until 1895, when a decline of greeting card production in England and the U.S. resulted from overwhelming competition from European printers whose product was so inexpensive that it could not be ignored.

The U.S.-made greeting card reasserted itself about 1910 and was given enormous impetus by World War I with its resultant increase in transiency, a situation that was repeated during World War II.

In the intervening years the custom of exchanging cards on both seasonal and everyday occasions became firmly established in the United States. U.S. greeting card manufacturers, chief among them Hallmark, assumed world leadership during this period and brought many innovations to the design and manufacture of cards in the realm of novelties, animation, three-dimensional effects and visual and sound effects. Hallmark also transformed the industry by packaging inexpensive cards with custom-sized envelopes, essentially ushering out the era of the postcard.

The exchange of greeting cards in the United States is on a scale far beyond that in any other country, and, according to industry estimates in the early 21st century, more than three-fourths of greeting cards were being purchased by women. A shopper engaged in the selection of a greeting card could have as many as 1,000 different cards from which to choose, commemorating almost any possible occasion.

Despite the growing use of e-cards and social media to celebrate special occasions and holidays, the industry displayed a surprising resilience. In the 2010s, U.S. households annually purchased about seven billion cards, with retail sales topping $7.5 billion. Christmas cards accounted for the overwhelming majority of seasonal cards, while birthday cards topped the everyday card market.

Card-sending habits in America have shifted dramatically over the last 75 years. In 1940, Americans sent an estimated 1 billion cards each year–that’s more than five per person on average. As per the greeting card industry stats, the most popular occasions for sending physical cards in America are birthdays, Valentine’s Day, and Christmas. The next-most-popular occasions as per industry trends are Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, anniversaries, and New Year’s Day.

According to a survey conducted by Greeting Card Universe, the average American will send and receive 30.7 greeting cards, the greeting cards market in the U.S. was estimated at US$6.2 Billion in 2020

Greeting card is the most popular gift for valentine day, surpassing flowers and candies. Valentine's Day is the second largest holiday for giving greeting cards. Valentine's Day is popularly celebrated in the US, United Kingdom, France, Australia, Denmark, Italy, Canada, and Mexico. In the global Valentine`s Day segment, USA, Canada, Japan, China and Europe will drive the -2.4% CAGR estimated for this segment. These regional markets accounting for a combined market size of US$1.8 Billion in the year 2020 will reach a projected size of US$1.6 Billion by the close of the analysis period. China will remain a major market in this cluster of regional markets. Led by countries such as Australia, India, and South Korea, the market in Asia-Pacific is forecast to reach US$254.7 Million by the year 2026.

 

Refeence: britannica.com; technorms.com; prnewswire.com

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