There has never been a better time to show that someone is in your thoughts than in 2020! This year’s Thinking of You Week starts today and runs until 27th September, encouraging people to send greetings cards. Now in its 7th year, Thinking of You Week sees top retailers and card publishers run a series of initiatives instore and across social media.
The British spent £1.7bn on greetings cards in 2019, with £73m on Mother’s Day cards and £27m on Father’s Day cards, an increase of 7% on 2018. During lockdown, sales of cards with typical spring themes like wedding or new home were replaced by sales of art cards, thinking of you, miss you, sending a hug plus age, birthday and sympathy. One to watch for the end of the year – according to Amanda Fergusson from the Greeting Card Association (GCA) – is cards with ‘congratulations on your new baby’!
“We have also seen a huge increase in ‘all occasion’ cards,” says Amanda. “Sending cards to people just to say hello, share a joke, an image provoking a memory, to express how you feel and that you’re thinking of them, as people keep in touch with loved ones, neighbours and work colleagues. During lockdown, lots of children were also making cards at home which is a great activity and a good way to stay in touch with their grandparents and family.”
“Greeting cards is a world-leading British creative industry and we lead the world in innovative design and export our cards all over the world. It has also proved to be a really caring industry – at the start of lockdown many of our members donated cards to care homes and prisons, where people are particularly isolated without usual activities and visits from loved ones.”
“There is scientific evidence to show that receiving a handwritten card makes people feel much more special than receiving instant social media communication. This is because it takes more time, effort and emotional investment to send them – not to mention the special power of handwriting! And that has taken on even more significance in these difficult times."
During the last year, the large established online card retailers all saw percentage increases in the 100s, and independent retailers previously selling 3-6 orders a day online were shipping 70 or 80 orders a day. These numbers dropped when the High St reopened, however online sales remain much higher than previously.
“The High Street is still the main place of purchase for cards – around 94% – but during lockdown at the GCA we responded to calls from the public wanting to find cards,” says Amanda. “So we set up a Gallery directing them to independent retailers and designers who were selling online or over the phone.”
What’s going on instore?
Sainsbury’s top 200 stores are participating in TOYW and from now till the end of TOYW week you can choose from around 50 different designs of cards. Look out for the special TOYW display in-store.
Card Factory is promoting the event in around 1,000 of its stores and on its website and social media channels, while Cardzone has opted for a display in its more than 135 stores.
Royal Mail are also supporting Thinking of You Week and you can look for inspiration on the Thinking of You Week Gallery here.