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Greeting Card Industry Facts and Figures

Greeting Card Market Research:
The Facts, Figures and Trends You Need to Know

Updated 06/29/18

If you want to break into the world of greeting cards, thorough research is your first step to success. Though market research can be tedious at times, it is absolutely necessary to know your buyer persona before trying to sell to them.

You can probably tell by the racks of cards at your local store that the greeting card market is a competitive one, and while that may seem intimidating, it represents a buying group that's proven to be lucrative and sustainable. On top of that, the market seems to be expanding as technology advances and online shopping increases.

So whether you're planning to create online designs or more traditional paper cards, your future in the greeting card industry could be a fruitful one.

With that said, let's dig in to the facts and figures that you can use to create a solid foundation for your business, starting with a research-backed business plan.

Current and Future Trends

The information you see below was pulled from the Greeting Card Association and pertains to the United States. However, since people all over the globe share similar values of love and appreciation for their fellow neighbor, these statistics likely indicate the greeting card trends in other countries as well.
  • Number of greeting cards purchased each year in America: 6.5 billion
  • Total annual sales: $7.5 billion
  • Seven out of 10 consumers consider greeting cards an essential part of their lives.

As for future outlook, most people admit to acknowledging more birthdays than ever thanks to social media sites like Facebook. While these sites make it easy to post a birthday shout-out, consumers don't seem to be sending fewer cards as a result.
  • Eight out of 10 Americans predict their card purchases will remain the same moving forward.
  • Of the remaining 20 percent, twice as many buyers say they will increase their spending as opposed to decreasing it.

These greeting card trends will likely stand the test of time as the tradition of sending greeting cards continues to be passed on to the next generation.

Popular Greeting Card Categories

Within the greeting card industry, cards are divided into two general categories:
  • Everyday
  • Seasonal

By far, birthday cards are the most popular card within the “Everyday” category, accounting for about half of total cards sold. Birthday cards are followed in popularity by the following:
  • Thank You
  • Get Well
  • New Baby
  • Sympathy
  • Wedding
  • Congratulations
  • Thinking of You

As for seasonal greeting cards, Christmas tops the list with roughly 1.6 billion units sold. Truthfully, that number is even higher because it includes boxed sets, which can contain anywhere from 10 to 50 individual cards.

Other popular seasons for greeting cards include:
  • Valentine's Day (145 million sold)
  • Mother's Day (133 million sold)
  • Father's Day (90 million sold)
  • Graduation (67 million sold)
  • Easter (57 million sold)
  • Halloween (21 million sold)
  • Thanksgiving (15 million sold)
  • St. Patrick's Day (7 million sold)

Who Is Buying?

With any business, it's important to effectively identify your buyer persona. Some business owners call this their “customer avatar.” It is not uncommon for entrepreneurs to go so far as to pinpoint their buyer's likely income, lifestyle choices, hobbies and more.

Such accuracy is important in the greeting card industry as well.

According to the Greeting Card Association, 80 percent of all card sales are made by women. They also tend to be more conscious in their decisions, spending more time browsing for the perfect card. Statistics reveal that they're also more likely to purchase more than one card at a time.

Average Prices

As to be expected, greeting cards vary in pricing. Recent polling shows prices range anywhere from 50 cents to $10. Such a wide range means there is a market for consumers at every income level.

Standard counter cards typically cost between $2 and $4, which happens to be the average price of all cards sold.

Design Inspiration

As you design, it is important to keep in mind that your buyer is largely female. It's also wise to offer a variety of designs that appeal to different styles and tastes.

These design variations should also play a role in your overall pricing strategy. For instance, cards that feature innovative techniques and even certain technologies sell for more than your ordinary card designs.

Consider including features like sound chips and LED lights, which the Greeting Card Association puts at the higher end of the price scale. They also state that handmade cards are worth more as well.

As you research the greeting card market, be sure to look at multiple sources for your information. If you are setting up a brick and mortar shop, do some local market research to see what's hot and what's not for your particular area. If you are launching an online business, check out overall e-commerce trends and sales to better understand the digital market.

About Greeting Card Universe

Greeting Card Universe is the largest greeting card store in the world, with over 600,000 cards (as well as invitations and announcements), designed by over 10,000 artists from all over the globe. Born in 2007, Greeting Card Universe has become the destination for unique, personalized cards that you can't find in stores. Our goals are to:
  • Provide unique, customizable cards for every occasion you can possibly imagine at a reasonable price
  • Print and ship your orders quickly and professionally (orders are mailed the next business day)
  • Empower a worldwide community of independent artists
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  • New designs within 24 hours
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