The two companies, which lead the $7.5 billion industry, are trying to compete for consumers who are less inclined to go browsing through the aisles for cards, and would rather communicate with their friends and loved ones electronically. Through research, they found that humor appeals to women—humor which is linked into their everyday events.
By pushing hard on this genre, the card companies hope to promote the idea that greeting cards can be sent anytime, not just on holidays and special occasions. Given how accustomed people have become to sending funny e-mail messages for no particular reason, they may start to view traditional cards in the same light, the logic goes.
According to the Greeting Card Association, the declining paper card market is still five times as big as the e-card market, with 90 percent of US households still buying paper greetings at an average of 30 a year.
But new social networks that enable individuals to post up chat boards and other mediums of fast communication can pose as a potential threat to the paper card industry. To that end, American Greetings created kiwee.com in mid-July, which offers free social expressions, including postcards and emoticons that are connected to MySpace and MSN accounts.
Call me a traditionalist, call me sentimental (I don’t deny being either) but there is something about an old-fashioned hand written card that leaves me… with warm and fuzzy feelings inside.