Young people have turned away from buying Christmas cards in droves, but their focus is on quality over quantity when they do.
Market research specialist Mintel has found that 43% of people aged 16-24 and 49% aged 25-34 said they purchased cards for the festive season in the past year, while spending remains high for the oldest generations as 75% of over-65s still do so.
While around a third of younger Brits said they use social media to spread festive cheer, 51% of those who do buy greetings cards said it was worth paying more for a high-quality card than buying lower-quality cards in bulk.
As a result, sales of individual cards have risen in recent years, with spending rising from £140m in 2012 up to £225m in 2016.
Alex Cain, director at London's Mount Street Printers, warned that “underestimating the values” of young people could be leading companies to not market Christmas cards towards them.
He said: “We have seen a huge increase in demand for engraved cards that are at the highest end of the quality and price spectrum. As a result, we will continue to focus on this market and increase our engraved stationery capabilities by offering a wider range and choice going forward.
“I think this is a general trend and we are beginning to see a slowdown in the desire for cheap, fast and disposable goods.
“A lot of what is commercial today does not appeal to younger people as it did for previous generations, and this is a big challenge for large corporations. The question should really be how are they communicating and where do cards fit in with this group of people that are more connected than ever.”
Watford-based Woodmansterne Publications has seen a downturn in the volume of Christmas cards sent out for sale, although its position at the “upper end” of the market means its focus has always been on luxury aspects over numbers, according to production manager Seth Woodmansterne.
“Though we have not suffered because of our position in the market, this data certainly does chime with what we are seeing,” he said. “As a person under 35 I understand how this generation is too time-poor to sit down and write 50 Christmas cards in bulk.
“I think this generation sees the value in making those cards special, sending them to those closest to you and making them see that you really care.
“What also might be influencing this trend is that under-35s are not buying houses and so are less tied to the same address and not settling down into their lives as quickly, and I think Christmas cards are quite tied to being settled in your family and home life.”