Coronavirus has led to marked changes in people’s behaviour and this extends even to the greeting cards they are choosing to send.
“We’ve seen some very obvious changes,” confirms Kelly Courtenay, Creative Director of greeting cards publisher Card Connection. “Lockdown and social distancing means people are thinking much more deeply about relationships with their friends and family. Social media and texting are all very well, but if you want to show you’re really thinking about someone, greeting cards are hard to beat.”
“Buying a blank card, one that has no occasion-related caption is great vehicle to add some visual sentiment, along with your very personal message,” explains Kelly.
“The top three selling cards in our Collection range represent almost a barometer of the nation during lockdown – Smile and stay positive, drink more wine and support the NHS! These sentiments are confirmed by the top selling cards in the rest of our range. Share your news, keep smiling and there’s always time for tea and a chat!”
Of course, Birthdays will always be top of the reasons why people send a card, and Card Connection’s general birthday sales have increased almost 14% compared to the same period last year. “It’s our Relations birthday cards that tell the biggest story though,” explains Kelly. “They’ve just gone bonkers, increasing by a massive 43%!”
So, if lockdown has been paradoxically generally good for sales, has there perhaps been any specific losers, when it comes to cards captions?
“Unfortunately, our Occasions card sales have dropped by 7%” confirms Kelly. “As you might expect, Get Well and Sympathy sales have sadly gone up, but many of the ‘positive’ occasions are down.”
Drilling down into the figures, there have been Good Luck and Congratulations sales have dropped, as people have less reasons to celebrate. Exams and Driving Tests simply haven’t happened, impacting those smaller captions, but the big losers have been and Wedding and Christening cards, where sales have fallen though the floor, as people have been so restricted with regards to getting together.
Overall though, Card Connection reports sales are up year on year, as people look to re-affirm and maintain those important relationships.
Kelly agrees; “Through bad times in the past, cards have always proved to be recession proof. Now it seems that they are also one of those rare categories in the economy that are virus proof, too.”
Card Connection is part of UK Greetings, has limited vacancies for franchisees keen to run an expanding business. Candidates would ideally have some management experience as, once established, they could be expected to employ a small team, operate a small warehouse and have several liveried vans on the road. Since the franchise network in the UK is complete, the available opportunities now consist of acquiring an already established territory from an existing franchisee. These vary in price according to their level of development, but start at £10k + Stock + Card Connection fee with earnings potential in excess of £50k per annum