Greeting cards are dying... what's happening?

woman golding greeting card

The custom of sending greeting cards can be traced back to ancient civilisations in China and Egypt, but here in the 21st century the greeting card is struggling.

Are we still sending greeting cards? And are we sending as many as we used to?

This week in the USA greeting card giant Hallmark has shut down a factory, a loss of 570 jobs there, and the company is looking to consolidate more of its operations in the near future. Within the company it’s been said that once you have a job at Hallmark you have a job for life. No longer it seems. In the last five years Hallmark has shifted from 22,000 full time jobs, down now to around 10,500.

So what is happening in the world of greeting card sales? After some decline over the past 10 years, sales have apparently remained steady, but profit has dropped. The prime candidates that have eaten into sales? People now simply email their greetings, thankyous, and congratulations, or they use social media services such as Facebook to make their own electronic cards, and simply send or share via Facebook.

In an attempt to spark sales, greeting cards are now popping up in vending machines, with the thought that the novelty of that type of purchases will help sales, along with their being noticeable in high-traffic areas in shopping centres.

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Easy, Tiger is one such company that makes and sell cards in vending machines, and Hallmark is one of its backers.

“There’s a lot of room for growth in stationery,” says Easy, Tiger co-founder Mike Sayre. “It just has to be done in a different way, and I think everybody is trying to figure out what that different way is.”

Personally, I’m still giving cards to friends and family, though I’ve moved away from the standard Hallmark-type card, and send cards that are a little different, more of a boutique card, and more likely to stand out. Is this something you do too?

Do you still send /give greeting cards? Do you think it’s OK to use email or Facebook, or is it rude?