Will Christmas cards become extinct?

According to Mintel, a research company, 75% of UK homes sent a Christmas card in 2009, compared with 84% in 2006. A study by YouGov for Oxfam reveals a similar trend. Christmas card sales in Oxfam’s UK charity shops slipped by 14% last year.

Why is this happening? Obvious really. Cards are expensive, time consuming and arguably damage the environment. There’s also the issue of the reliability of the postal services and shifts in terms of belief.

So are physical cards dead? Not by a long shot. Firstly, remember e-greeting cards? These seemed to die out almost completely a few years ago, replaced by simple texts and emails. So things change.

Secondly, 75% of homes is still a large figure. I’m sure this figure will decline in the future but I’d also expect to see a boom in personalized cards because they show that you’ve made a bit of an effort and value the other person. So the trend is against physical cards but this should create a counter-trend the more that cards die out.

A simple text message or Christmas e-mail greeting is a cold piece of communication. Christmas is supposed to be about thinking about others so people should stop thinking about how convenient it is for them to do something and start thinking about now people will feel if they make a bit of an effort.

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