More ways to say 'I love you'
The box of chocolates, dozen red roses and candlelit dinner are still on.
But there could be something missing from that romantic Valentine’s Day production: a card.
More Americans, it seems, are shunning the traditional greeting card as a way to say “I love you” this holiday. Just about half of Americans, 54.9 percent, will give a card for Valentine’s Day, a significant drop from just three years ago, when 62.8 percent did, according to the National Retail Federation.
It’s a trend the $7.5 billion greeting card industry has seen coming in the emerging world of e-cards and mobile messages — and even more so in an economy where consumers are looking for small ways to save money.
“The card is easy to get rid of. Who needs it, anyway?” said Pam Danziger, president of Unity Marketing, who specializes in retail and consumer research. “Maybe it’s better to just give them a big kiss and a bottle of champagne and forget the card.”
That sentiment among many consumers has prompted mainstream producers of cards to find ways to try to fight the downturn in card buying. Hallmark, for example, started charging 99 cents for its e-cards in 2009. It also offers mobile greetings that can be sent on cell phones for 99 cents. American greetings offers printable cards online as well as paid membership to send e-cards.
“People are connecting in different ways than they ever have before,” said Sarah Kolell, spokeswoman for Hallmark.
Some say, however, that this new wave of connecting through technology cannot compare to a greeting card that can be touched and filed away as a keepsake.
“It will never replace where you know somebody sat down, they took a pen and put it to paper and wrote with their own hand,” said Greg Geller, owner and president of Boatman Geller, a stationery and greeting card company in Indianapolis. “There is something very special about that.”
It may be special, but it does come at a price. The cost of a greeting card ranges from 50 cents to $10, but on average most cost $2 to $4.
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