We've been sending greetings since the beginning of civilisation in one form or another. From the wishes of goodwill sent by the ancient Chinese, papyrus scrolls sent by the Egyptians, handmade paper Valentines cards sent by the British and the ink printed woodcuts sent in Germany, all were sent to mark an occasion in the same way that we do now. Most cultures have a greeting-sending tradition, but whatever they were hundreds of years ago, they were transformed by the industrial revolution and the introduction of mass-produced greeting card production in the 15th century. Since then, the industry has expanded and now greetings are sent for a wide range of occasions as well as gifts and parties held. But what makes us continue to celebrate occasions in this way?
Today you can get greetings of all kinds, machine printed mass produced, hand made, digital ecards and various forms of messaging functions for sending messages on social media platforms such as Facebook and send them for all sorts of events such as birthdays, Christmas, various religious holidays, national and international holidays. These holidays are always a popular time for greeting and gift sending, but in the last 10 years or so there has also been an uprise in the amount that other occasions such as getting married, having children, moving home, passing exams or driving tests, getting a new job as well as other more sombre life events such as the passing of a loved one, saying sorry and recovering from an illness. And it doesn't end there...
There are many other occasions for which we send cards, gifts or hold celebratory events for, the most popular of them being centered around pets. People adore their pets and they are always part of the family, and that is probably why pet birthday cards, pet marriages and pet deaths are now catered for in this market. Whatever the occasion, its clear from the enthusiasm with which consumers embrace greetings of all kinds, that this is no passing phase. The greetings industry will continue to grow and develop accordingly in line with the wants and needs of consumers and the advances in technology. But what is it about greetings that make us continue to send them?
- Humans are social and we like to be able to get together and enjoy our spare time with the people that we love. Any occasion can be an excuse to do this but even if there is no social event linked to the occasion, many find browsing shops for presents and cards an enjoyable experience and time for them to feel involved in something positive.
- Some people believe that you can show someone how much you care for them by taking time to select a card and/or gift especially for them. They may think about the recipients interests, likes and dislikes before making their decision.
- Some people have a large amount of spare cash to spend and take enjoyment spending it. They may buy gifts for everyone they know (even if they don't know them well) for the pure pleasure of spending money on others.
- Others find something that they love and want everyone that they know to have it too. They buy this product for one or many of their loved ones on a special occasions and feel good about sharing something that has brought them joy.
Lots of different factors can influence gift and greeting giving such as:
- advances in technology
- current financial climate
- more people immigrating across the globe
- the rising popularity of social media
- awareness of environmental issues
- unreliability of some postal services
- rising cost of international post
All of these factors have impacted the greetings market. Some of the factors have led to the rise in popularity in sending digital e cards as they are low-cost, eco-friendly and are delivered instantly. People are using these animations to send birthday e cards and ecards for allsorts of other occasions allover the world and are avoiding the rising cost of international post. Of these people, a proportion are also selecting to send digital vouchers as gifts from ecommerce sites such as Amazon and iTunes.
The adaptation of the behaviour of people shows that even though changes have occurred within the greetings industry, this habit will not die out but will develop over time in response to changes in society that occur within technology and how we interact and behave as humans.
RachealE has worked in marketing for the last 8 years where she combines her passion for writing with her love of analyzing data. Within this time she has worked within publishing, disability and digital greetings sectors. She currently works for Katie's Cards, an e card company who have a collection of over 180 e cards for all occasions. In return for a small membership fee, you can become a member and begin to send unlimited birthday ecards and Christmas e cards as well as ecards for Easter, Mothers Day, Fathers Day, wedding, thank you, new house, new baby, independence day and many more!