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Millennials like greeting cards. But Hallmark? Not so much.

Kristin Schwab Feb 14, 2020
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Farjana K. Godhuly/AFP via Getty Images

Millennials like greeting cards. But Hallmark? Not so much.

Kristin Schwab Feb 14, 2020
Farjana K. Godhuly/AFP via Getty Images
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What kind of card do you send to a greeting card company that’s kind of failing? Papyrus and Hallmark are closing stores left and right. Do you send “Get well soon,” or “Sorry for your loss,” or maybe a blank card?

When it comes to celebrations or tough times, there’s nothing like a greeting card said Pamela Harris while browsing at a small independent stationary store in Manhattan.

“I just I love it,” Harris said. “I love, you know, my friend’s handwriting because it’s just personal.”

These days, paper and pen are a bit of a novelty. Data from IBIS World shows greeting card sales are down as people turn to social media and texting.

But don’t blame the youngins. Spending on greeting cards is actually up among millennials and Gen Z.

Peter Doherty, executive director of the Greeting Card Association, said that’s because of technology. “Texting and emails, they’ve lived with that all their lives and sometimes they’re looking for something different, something that doesn’t just, poof go away,” Doherty said.

But he says younger tastes are different. They like snarky over sentimental. Instead of the classic “I love you” card for Valentine’s Day, they might opt for something like “What is the deal with all these feelings?!” Something you might not find from Hallmark or Papyrus.

“The bread and butter for this industry is the independent retailer,” Doherty said.

To compete, big brands will have to get creative. And there’s money there: Doherty said millennials spend on average two dollars more on a greeting card.

Additional reporting by Lukas Southard.

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