The Greeting Card Association

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Greeting agenda companies need a accord note.

Many people are giving up cards in favor of agenda alternatives or are artlessly sending beneath cards amid above holidays like Christmas and Valentine’s Day.

Now, above retailers, including CVS and Walmart, are assertive to cut aback on cards, and greeting agenda companies accept closed hundreds of standalone locations.

To be sure, there are auspicious signs in some genitalia of the business, including exceptional cards that bulk added than $10, budget cards that bulk beneath than $1 and alone options. 

But Kevin Hourican, admiral of CVS Pharmacy, told USA TODAY in an account that the aggregation has too abundant alley amplitude adherent to greeting cards. He said the retailer, which has some 9,600 locations, is alive added amplitude to bloom affliction articles afterwards free that greeting cards are not affairs well, application an centralized analytics tool.

“More and added bodies are application argument and email and e-cards, and beneath bodies are affairs cards, so that would be one area” area the aggregation expects to cut back, Hourican said.

Walmart is “reimagining what we’re putting” in stores, said the company’s U.S. CEO, Gregory Foran. “Do we absolutely charge the bulk of affiliated footage that we’ve got in greeting cards?” he said on a appointment alarm beforehand this month.

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Americans are still affairs added than 6 billion cards per year, according to the Greeting Agenda Association, which did not accommodate added abundant statistics on trends in the industry.

But greeting agenda industry sales are crumbling at an annualized amount of 3 percent through 2023, according to market-research close IBISWorld.

When it comes to greeting cards, it’s the anticipation that absolutely counts. (Photo: Reviewed / Jonathan Chan)

And retail amplitude active by greeting agenda food beneath by added than 27 percent from 2013 to 2018, according to absolute acreage abstracts close CoStar Group.

“One of the huge factors impacting that is technology and amusing media and the adeptness to acquaintance bodies for appropriate occasions through these platforms,” said IBISWorld analyst Tanvi Kumar, who has advised the industry. “There is a huge billow in e-cards.”

The disruption is bouncing through the acceptable greeting agenda industry.

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The industry’s second-largest maker, American Greetings Corp., awash a majority allotment of itself in April to clandestine disinterestedness close Clayton, Dubilier & Rice. And the aggregation replaced CEO John Beeder in February afterwards alone about a year on the job.

IBISWorld estimated that American Greetings’ acquirement beneath by about 16 percent over the aftermost four years. The Cleveland-based aggregation beneath to animadversion for this story.

Industry sales baton Hallmark Cards has cut added than 1,000 jobs in the U.S. over the aftermost bristles years due to a abatement in profits, according to IBISWorld. The aggregation additionally cut about 28 percent of its retail aboveboard footage from 2013 to 2018, according to CoStar.

Hallmark greeting cards. (Photo: Hallmark)

Lindsey Roy, arch business administrator and carnality admiral of the Hallmark Greetings business, said the aggregation has “experienced some of the aforementioned all-embracing bazaar dynamics” but that cards are “pretty flat” overall.

“Our Hallmark Specialty food accept beneath over the years. There are fewer,” she said. But “we are absolutely at the point area we absolutely feel like we can balance that trend.”

It’s not all bad account for greeting cards.

For example, it’s a allegory that adolescent bodies aren’t affairs them.

As a millennial steeped in amusing media, Elizabeth Flake doesn’t appetite to accord up the concrete and claimed acquaintance of giving and accepting cards.

“I grew up in a greeting agenda ancestors – my dad is an ardent Hallmark shopper, and my grandma has consistently been accepted on holidays and birthdays to affectation all her cards on the kitchen table,” said Flake, a bells and accident artist in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

Hallmark’s Roy said that adverse to accepted wisdom, millennials like greeting cards as a allusive another to amusing media interactions.

“In a apple that’s awful agenda and cursory and fast, to accept article that’s that altered absolutely stands out,” she said.

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Entrepreneurs, alcove agenda sellers and specialty players are additionally demography advantage of absorption amid millennials in cards.

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“The better affair that anybody is aggravating to do is clothier their greeting cards against the adolescent crowd,” IBISWorld’s Kumar said. “They booty a added accidental tone. They’re ironic, added comical.”

Lovepop, a start-up featured on “Shark Tank,” sells exceptional pop-up greeting cards that generally bulk added than $10. (Photo: Lovepop)

Boston-based start-up Lovepop has awash added than 5 actor of its handmade affluence pop-up cards back ablution in 2014. 

Having anchored allotment from “Shark Tank” host Kevin O’Leary afterwards actualization on the absoluteness TV show, Lovepop is affairs 90 percent of its cards anon to consumers online.

And the aggregation is additionally affairs cards through 3,000 retail locations, including its first-ever stand-alone boutique at New York City’s Hudson Yards development.

The archetypal angishore greeting agenda has collapsed out of favor for a reason, but that doesn’t beggarly cards are activity away, said Lovepop CEO Wombi Rose.

“Consumers are boring acceptable annoyed of that offering, and we accompany a actual altered chump experience,” he said. “Every distinct Lovepop is laser-cut and put calm by hand.”

The cards about bulk added than $10, but recipients generally appearance them as a emblem to appearance off, he said.

Hallmark, Papyrus, Cardboard Source and mom-and-pop online entrepreneurs on Etsy are additionally benefiting from absorption in exceptional cards.

Paper Source, which gets about 15 percent of its acquirement from greeting cards, has opened about 50 food in the aftermost bristles years for a absolute of 128. The advance stems from accurate alternative of articles instead of affairs banal items, CEO Winnie Park said. For example, the aggregation has about 500 suppliers of greeting cards.

“Part of the abracadabra of what we accompany to bazaar is a alternative that has been curated that is absolutely unique,” Park said. “I would say that absolutely about bisected our chump abject is millennials, and they definitively buy greeting cards.”

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A print-making branch at American Greetings’ analog accident for South By Southwest in Austin drew passers-by. (Photo: Mary Nahorniak, USA TODAY)

On the cast side, some cash-strapped adolescent bodies and added price-conscious consumers accept been angry off by the accretion bulk of cards, which IBISWorld abhorrent on ascent cardboard costs and agenda companies aggravating to accomplish up for absent profits.

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“The botheration I’ve run into the aftermost several years is the amount of greeting cards has gone way up,” Flake said. “I’m advantageous $6 for a beam card.”

A backfire to big-ticket cards has helped some retailers.

Hallmark began affairs budget-oriented cards at Dollar Tree food in June, including a 2-for-$1 deal. The move led to a double-digit access in year-over-year annual sales of cards, Dollar Tree CEO Gary Philbin told investors in November.

Philbin said the aggregation is “extremely pleased” with the partnership.

Still, the industry charcoal challenged in ambrosial to digitally aggressive consumers.

Engaged couples, for example, are more sending agenda save-the-date cards and allurement invitees to RSVP online to bells invitations instead of sending cards through the mail, Flake said.

“There are way beneath cards and ability brought to weddings,” she said. “The agenda and allowance table has gotten abate and abate because bodies are opting to accelerate article through an online allowance registry.”

IBISWorld’s Kumar said that barter are additionally sending beneath cards amid the three above agenda holidays: Christmas, Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day. Birthday agenda sales, for example, are still the best accepted non-holiday cards, but they’re falling out of favor amid some consumers as they accelerate greetings through Facebook and added agenda means.

That’s led Hallmark, for example, to acknowledge by introducing a new calendar of cards beneath a cast alleged Aloof Because. The achievement is to animate bodies to anticipate of anniversary added with a cardboard agenda instead of aloof sending a argument or Facebook message.

“We’re seeing some abundant advance out of these because bodies are aloof defective a little bit of acceptable in their lives,” Hallmark’s Roy said.

People will pay for a claimed touch, Lovepop’s Rose said. That’s why the start-up gives barter the advantage to adapt a bulletin back they buy Lovepop cards online.

“The basal animal charge to affix is as able as it’s anytime been,” he said.

Follow USA TODAY anchorman Nathan Bomey on Twitter @NathanBomey.

Read or Allotment this story: https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2019/03/26/walmart-cvs-may-cut-greeting-card-space-as-cards-decline/3243515002/

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