Greeting Card Industry Shifts Over Millennial Taste

Millennials have eschewed sending greeting cards, so the industry has gotten edgier in response—making room for different voices and different kinds of cards.

The greeting card is getting with the times.

Facing challenges with changing culture and constant competition from instant communication, the greeting card industry is developing new tactics to capture the growing millennial audience.

Since young adults are now opting for e-cards, Facebook posts, and text messages instead of physical cards,  greeting card companies are using casual, direct, emoji-infused language to get current—and the Greeting Card Association (GCA) sees this trend strengthening.

Tough Numbers

Sales are still strong, as Americans buy 6.5 billion cards a year, according to GCA.

But sales may be on a downward slope. “The industry is declining, and from 2015 to 2020 we expect it to continue this downward trend,” Sarah Turk, an IBISWorld analyst, said to NPR on the card industry.

However, the news isn’t terrible: According to GCA,  about 60 percent of millennials have purchased a card over the last year. They just aren’t keen on price or greeting card technology.

Additionally, GCA states on its website that “younger card buyers and those who are more technology savvy are currently the ones most engaged in buying paper greeting cards online.”

Embracing New Cultures

With the younger generation, in come changes and a wider array of cards.

“The biggest change we have seen in the last three years is the consumers’ demand for a broader range of product,” GCA President Steve Doyal said in a statement released earlier this year.

“The consumer is not a monolithic character, they are a culturally rich group—geographically segmented, age segmented and multi-culturally segmented.”

Card companies know that. They look at the millennial demographic and see the progressive, open, casual, and fun culture. Designers are trying to reflect today’s buyers in their products.

For example, there are now cards for same-sex couples and gender transitions. There are also cards that express empathy and support through snarky, crude language.

“Greeting cards reflect society, and the industry needs to speak in the voice of the consumer,” Doyal added in his statement.


Patrick deHahn

By Patrick deHahn

Patrick deHahn is a contributor to Associations Now. MORE

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