You are here: Home » Resources » For Publishers » The Market » Facts and Figures

Facts and Figures

Latest Figures from the GCA Market Report 2018

The latest GCA Market Report shows that in 2017 the UK public spent £1.7 billion on greeting cards.

The report, which covers sales January - December 2016, is the only research based on actual retail sales figures, with data confidentially submitted by UK publishers to market analysts Echo Research (formerly a division of Ebiquity).

The total retail value of single cards sales in the UK stood at over £1.506bn in 2017

Everyday cards are now worth £1.163bn.

Nearly 100 million Christmas single cards were sold, bringing the total for the Christmas card market to one billion cards sold in the UK.

In addition, an estimated 900m Christmas cards were sold in boxes and packs worth around £230m, as well as millions of cards bought from online operators, such as Moonpig.

The greeting card card categories covered in the report are:

  • Christmas – (single cards only)
  • Open Birthday/Blank Cards
  • Occasions/Age/Relations
  • Valentine’s Day
  • Mother’s Day
  • Father’s Day
  • Easter – Single Cards
  • Easter – Boxes and Packs

The vast majority of greeting cards are still bought in bricks and mortar stores, rather than online and they remain an important, highly-profitable product for all manner of retailers, being sold in one in six retail outlets.

The full report is available without additional cost to GCA Members and is available to outside bodies at a cost of £750+VAT.

Interesting Facts About the Greeting Card Industry

  • The greeting card industry is directly and indirectly responsible for the jobs of 100,000 people in the UK including: publishers; artists, photographers and image suppliers; verse and prose writers; printers; paper and board companies; envelope and cello wrap suppliers; specialist finishers; warehousing and distribution companies; trade fair organisers and retailers.
  • No other country has such a tradition of card sending or card display in the home - the sending and receiving of cards is an important part of our culture.
  • We buy more cards per person than any other nation - 33 each a year.
  • But the industry's rule of thumb is that 85% of all cards are bought by women.
  • The UK card industry is acknowledged to be ten years ahead of the rest of the world in terms of design.
  • Greeting cards are stocked in more types of outlet than any other product – with one in six retailers stocking greeting cards.
  • There are over a thousand publishers in the UK, most of which are small businesses with fewer than five employees. Out of the 450 plus members of the GCA over 350 are small/micro businesses.
  • It’s a creative industry with strong bases in London, Nottinghamshire and the North, especially Yorkshire and Lancashire, where it has replaced many of the heavy manufacturing industries as a major employers.
  • Charities estimate that £50m is raised for good causes through the sales of charity Christmas cards each year.
  • Greeting card making is also the number one craft hobby, according to Crafts Beautiful, the top consumer craft magazine, which receives more enquiries about greeting cards than any other subject.
  • The commercial Christmas card was invented in 1846 by Sir Henry Cole, the chief organiser of the Great Exhibition, pioneer of the penny post and founder of the V&A Museum.
  • One of Sir Henry’s first Christmas cards, sent to his Grandmother was recently sold at auction for  £22,500.