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Is giving a greeting card a dying practice?


There is no question that fewer people are buying a greeting card these days. Times have changed, innovations and the going green platform are just one of the two reasons why virtual greeting cards have now replaced the physical greeting card. But this does not mean that people do not like to receive a physical greeting card or that Americans no longer buy printed cards.  In fact, surveys reveal that the vast majority of people would prefer to receive a physical greeting card instead of a digital card. And there are still millions of seniors who have never acquired the computer skills to send a digital card, and for them, a physical card is still important as it is the only social means of communication. In addition, there are many people in nursing homes, long-term care facilities, hospitals, who do not have access to a computer and for them, the physical greeting card is still one of the ways to keep in touch with their loved ones.

The printed greeting card business is still going strong. Each year, Americans purchase approximately 6.5 billion greeting cards and the sale of these cards has annual sales between $7-$10 billion. Roughly 9 out of ten American homes bought a greeting card just this past year. The reason why the greeting card business has continued to thrive even in the face of the internet is that this is the preferred way for many people to communicate, whether it is for personal or business matters.

And the best part about a greeting card is that it sends a personal message that can be treasured; it carries with it a meaning of love, trust, acknowledgment, and sincerity- something that a digital card fails. In fact, the digital greeting card industry has proliferated so rapidly that there is little quality; the cards and the messages are cheesy, tacky, and cheap- asides from the razmataz of colorful popups- they do not have any sentimental value and are quickly disposed of in the trash. On the other hand, printed greeting cards are often kept by many recipients for a very long time as they evoke good memories.

The printed card industry continues to evolve every few years by meeting the demands of the customers. Millions of trees are no longer cut down just to make greeting cards; the majority of printed cards in circulation today are recycled.  And the format of the printed cards has changed; while they cannot be used again, they are now used in schools, local communities, and long-term nursing homes to create scrapbooks. And best of all many of the latest printed cards also come with flower seeds embedded. Once the card is read it can be planted where it will biodegrade and grow into a gift of flowers.

If you are thinking of sending someone a printed greeting card, make sure it is recyclable and biodegradable. Avoid buying cards with plastic adornments as they worsen the pollution.