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Are Greeting Cards Dead?

Are Greeting Cards Dead?
Indeed, it is an e-world. Everything is going electronic, and so are greeting cards. The situation makes you really wonder; are greeting cards dead?
Mrunal Belvalkar
Last Updated: Mar 20, 2019
Anyone feels great when they receive an unexpected card in the mail.
- John Beeder, former President, Greeting Card Association
Don't you feel a longing in your heart? Doesn't it remind about old times, when festivals called for repeated trips to the mailbox to see if anyone has sent a card? Greeting cards were, till recently, a common way to send good luck and best wishes on different occasions.
christmas card
From Christmas, baby showers, birthdays, to the 4th of July and wedding anniversaries, there is always a card for every occasion. Or may be 'was'? Greeting cards seem to have died.
It All Begins
valentine card
Oldest instances of greeting card date back to Egyptian papyrus scrolls, the Chinese custom of sending good will and luck to celebrate New Year, and the German's woodcut Valentine greeting cards. Many people used to make cards and hand-delivered to the recipient.
However, the introduction of the postal stamp greatly reduced the cost and hence increased the popularity of sending a greeting card to family and friends on special occasions.
christmas card
Initially greeting cards were mostly sent out on three important occasions - Christmas, New Year, and Valentine's Day.
happy new year card
Soon people came to employ well-known artists to make custom greeting cards for them for various occasions, and the practice got established as a business, with Marcus Ward and Co. being one of the earliest mass producers of greeting cards (1860s).
Less than a century later, greeting cards became so popular that people actually did not need an occasion to send out a card to someone, with studio cards becoming the new rage.
The Good Ol' Days
Brooklyn based American Greetings is one of the biggest greeting card companies in the world. Would you believe that the founder of American Greetings, Jacob Sapirstein, actually sold greeting cards from a horse-drawn cart before he founded the company? The story of American Greetings' success is one that illustrates how an idea can turn your life around.
The other big producer of greeting cards is Hallmark Cards, one of the leading greeting companies in the United States. It was founded in 1910 by Joyce Clyde Hall in Dorothy's city, Kansas. What began as one man's idea of cashing postcard rage of 1903, ended up becoming one of the biggest greeting card companies to be awarded National Medal of Arts in 1985.
valentine card
The Greeting Card Association is a trade association founded in 1941, trying to promote cards. It has members as the two greeting card giants, and other greeting card, stationery, gift wrapping paper manufacturers.
It plays a major role in keeping all the greeting card companies going and making an effort though most people seemed to have gone electronic these days.
The e-card
1990s saw how Internet changed the way people saw the world around them. It changed everything about life - education, entertainment, business, communication! As the world caught on to the World Wide Web, the world of greeting cards retreated as e-cards took over. E-cards became popular in late 1990s, but are said to have been started around early 1980s.
Why People Prefer e-cards - Many features of an e-card make it popular and rank above traditional paper greeting cards.
  • You can include animation in an e-card.
  • E-cards can be delivered by a single click of the mouse over thousands of miles.
  • E-cards allow an extremely high level of personalization. A user can upload his/her face in an animation video too.
These and many other reasons make e-cards highly sophisticated. Apart from this, you never miss a birthday or an occasion. Since e-cards are delivered within milliseconds, your wishes always reach on time. Besides, many greeting card websites allow users to make accounts and store the birth date of everyone they know.
happy birthday
The card website then sends a reminder to the user on respective birthdays. So convenient, especially for those who can't remember birthdays!
The Current Scenario
The greeting card sections in many stationery shops appear deserted these days. You hardly see anyone buying greeting cards. Everyone prefers sending out an e-card rather than a traditional paper greeting card. Even greeting card companies have come up with websites that cater to the e-buyer.
Hallmark Cards, American Greetings, Leanin' Tree Inc. etc., all have websites that offer scores of greeting cards for every occasion. Indeed, the 'delivery to recipient' factor makes e-cards a favorite. There are still people who prefer paper greeting cards. You can see people making a beeline for stationery stores when Christmas and New Year is around.
Many people like to have a birthday gift or a bouquet with a greeting card. It feels nice to do things for your loved ones. The Greeting Card Association takes a lot of effort to keep greeting cards alive. They still believe in traditional paper greeting cards.
On November 15, 2017, Christy Kaprosy, president, American Greetings’ Papyrus-Recycled Greetings Company and American Greetings’ Group Vice President of Marketing, Innovation and Business Development, was named as the new president of the association.
Receiving greeting cards on birthdays put a smile on people's face. As Hallmark Cards slogan is; Do not shy away from picking a card for a loved one "When You Care Enough to Send the Very Best".