In most conversations that I have about our company, a question comes up about the viability of the card market. Aren’t cards going away? Isn’t that market dead? It’s not surprising because that’s the story line in the media, but it’s so completely wrong that I feel compelled to defend it.
The simple truth is that cards are a gift, and connecting meaningfully with other people through gifts is not going away. Last year 6.5 billion cards were purchased in the United States. That represents a steady no-growth environment for the last 3 years since we started. No growth isn’t something to celebrate, but it’s not a hemorrhaging market by any stretch of the imagination.
What we are seeing is a channel shift reminiscent of what happened to other content businesses since the early 2000s. Online sales are increasing as a percentage of total sales and brick & mortar sales are declining (particularly at specialty retailers). Whereas online sales represent only 8% of total sales today, by 2016 it will almost double to 14% and by 2018 it’ll be 32%. By 2018 almost $2.3B in card orders will be done through the internet if current trends to continue.
The average american family buys 31 cards a year. Roughly a third are Holiday Cards, another 1/3 are Happy Birthday Cards and the remaining 1/3 are everyday cards and non-Christmas holidays like Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and Valentine’s Day.
Bottom line, the card market isn’t dead.