The Greeting Card Industry: Facts and Figures

Written by Jean-Paul Michael 

facts and figures

If you make your own greeting cards to sell, or if you're thinking of selling the ones you have only thus far been making for your family and friends, it's important to know certain details about the greeting card industry, including facts and figures. However, you may not where to start with this, which is why we're here to help you!

An essential part of working in this industry is knowing that this competitive market is partly based on trends, so you'll need to have a target audience in mind and know your own niche, particularly if your cards are unique or unusual. Doing some groundwork first by researching and planning before launching your line means that you'll be less likely to fail. Though of course it's never guaranteed that you'll succeed, you'll have more of a chance to ensure that your products and hence your overall business get off to a good start.

Whether you're located in North America or elsewhere on the planet, there are card trends that are useful to know before you create and establish your products. Nevertheless, if you've already designed the entire range of cards that you're planning on selling, it would still be beneficial to know the trends anyway, as they may still apply to you and possibly will in the future.

Interestingly, there is a current trend of combining technology with cards, and when we recently wrote an article with what we thought were 'The 10 Coolest Greeting Cards on Amazon', we included a video card and a talking card. At the opposite end of the scale, though, is the continuing trend of handmade cards, which may well be what you yourself design, and these are appreciated just as much by customers, whether you add lots of detail, embellish them with buttons, bows or jewels or make them unique in an altogether different way. 

facts and figures

Picture courtesy of Erica DiPaolo

While sending cards to loved ones (and even those we don't love) is simply habit, a part of life, entrenched in our everyday social interactions, you may well be surprised by the fact that in the US alone, the greeting card business is a 7.5 billion dollar industry. We buy cards for so many different occasions and even sometimes send them with no occasion at all in mind but that's a staggering number to try and visualize. Because it's difficult to really imagine this number, to put it into some kind of context, 7.5 billion is the same number of people in the world and, curiously enough, you can actually buy a greeting card that states this.

facts and figures

To get to this number, around seven billion cards are purchased every year in the US, ranging from 50 cents or dollar store buys to luxury high-end offerings that cost several dollars or more. 

With regards this being a 7.5 billion dollar industry, The New York Times reported in 2007 that it was the same number then, so little has changed in twelve years, though that doesn't necessarily mean it won't in the near future.  

Here are a few more greeting card industry facts and figures that may surprise you...

facts and figures

Picture courtesy of Brandon Gaille

  • The average US household buys 30 greeting cards annually.
  • 80% of greeting cards in the US are said to be purchased by women - that's 4 out of every 5 cards!
  • The best-selling everyday card is the birthday card, which usually accounts for more than 50% of all types of cards sold.
  • The best-selling seasonal cards are Christmas cards, followed by Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day cards.
  • The average person receives 20 cards a year. 
  • The average cost spent on a card is estimated at between $2 and $4. 

facts and figures

Picture courtesy of Brandon Gaille

We recently celebrated Mother's Day, where it was estimated that about 75% of people who planned to spend money on this day also planned to buy a greeting card, at an average cost of around $6.

However, for those feeling flush, whatever the occasion, you can buy a bespoke handmade card decorated with semi-precious stones from Gilded Age Greetings for hundreds or even thousands of dollars.

facts and figures

Whether you're creating products that are aimed at providing value for money, are priced higher than average or are luxurious custom-made ones like this stunning design from Gilded Age Greetings, keep an eye on market trends and industry facts, and you'll certainly be better prepared. 

To find out more, we recommend checking out The Spruce Crafts, which provides some great links to see facts and figures in other countries, as well as further reading about making and selling handmade cards too. 

Author Bio

Jean-Paul Michael has spent his entire adult life in the greeting card industry. He co-founded Northern Cards when he was 18 years old and over the last 3 decades, he has held many varying positions in the company. Today, he is proud to be Northern Cards' Publisher and a lifelong greeting card geek.


Jean-Paul Michael

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