Is selling greeting cards profitable as a business?2 min read
There are seven billion greeting cards purchased every year, resulting in a whopping $7.5 billion in annual retail sales. Nine out of 10 households buy greeting cards every year and are dominantly a female-driven market.
In 2017 in the UK, the public spent £1.7 billion on greeting cards, according to Greeting Card Association. During the 2018 Christmas period, the UK sold nearly 100 million greeting cards.
Seasonality and top-selling greeting cards
Cards are purchased every day, and some cards for obvious reasons are purchased during a particular season like Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Father’s Day, and Mother’s Day. There are two categories of greeting cards: seasonal and ‘Everyday cards.’
In Spring, sending occasions like Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and Easter. The 14th of February is Valentine’s, the first of the Spring season events. Card sold for everyday activities include Birthdays, Anniversary’s, Sympathy, Thank you, Get well, Engagement, Thinking of you, Congratulations, Leaving, Christening and Wedding cards.
The top-selling everyday card is for Birthdays, which totals over half of the total greeting cards sold. Followed closely by the wedding, anniversary, sympathy, get well, friendship, and encouragement cards. The top-selling season is during Christmas, followed by Valentine’s, Mother’s day, Father’s day, and Graduation cards.
- The greeting card industry creates hundreds of thousands of jobs for people in the UK, including work for artists, photographers, prose writers, printers, and publishers.
- The UK has a cultural tradition to send, receive, and display greeting cards, especially in the holiday seasons.
- The UK is one of the biggest consumers for greeting cards with one in six retailers stocking greeting cards.
- Christmas cards are often sold in a bundle pack containing more than one card.
Female drive the market for greeting cards
Every five purchases made for a greeting card, four are made by women. In the UK, women account for 85% of greeting card sales. So whoever the recipient is of the greeting card, the person buying the card is likely to be female, so that is a crucial factor to keep in mind. Men tend to buy greeting cards for special occasions for their partner or family. It could be a good idea to target men for special events to help them make purchase decisions when marketing.
Greeting card trends
There are many types of greeting cards, and there is a trend towards combining technology with greeting cards; for instance, cards playing a message when opened. The UK is said to be ten years ahead of the rest of the world when it comes to greeting cards. Virtual cards have seen an increase in acceptance. Another big trend is personalized cards. People making handcrafted cards are in a unique position to combine their cards with the latest trends and new technology. Thus giving their customer a novel and potentially specialized experience that they cannot get from a retail store.
Other categories of greeting cards include ‘cute’ cards for adults—sweet, adorable, and touching cards with illustrations or photographic images to pull the recipient’s heart-strings. Cute cards also include adult humor or sexual cards, which has also seen an increase in trend.
Pricing of Greeting Cards
The average price of a greeting card is between 2-5 dollars. In retail shops, greeting cards can fall between 50 cents to 12 dollars. The top of the price scale is often cards with intricate artisan detailing or new technology integrated into the card.
I have noticed greeting cards with unique illustrations with funny jokes can often go for 4-6 dollars. So that is something to consider. Another strategy to consider is selling in bundles: the more cards you sell, the higher the profit margins. I have found myself buying quirky tickets on Etsy, two or three at a time, for $10-15. That’s a considerable profit margin for the creator!
Should I start selling greeting cards?
Selling greeting cards can be an exceptional experience. However, it is essential to know how to enter the game with so much competition if you are new.
If you choose to sell greeting cards, it is best to do your due diligence first. Ensure you research your target market. If possible, look for gaps in the market where you can specifically target. For instance, instead of creating birthday cards, you can make birthday cards for hip-hop grandmas. Ensure that your niche and target market exists and is large enough to market to.
Think beyond cards you can find in any retail store down the high street. The internet is enormous and has a market for many different types of people. If you are struggling to think of a niche or would like to start your own print-on-demand business, check out the resources page.