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VIEWPOINTS By keeping variety at the heart of our industry, the greeting card

market will remain strong by offering consumers choice on prices, creativity, innovation and quality. After all, our industry is unique in the sheer complexity of choices made at purchase, based on the closeness of the recipient, what the occasion is, and what people want to say. Therefore, there is a need for a full spectrum of products across the market, from budget to high-end premium card, we just need to keep that choice at the heart of what we do, and keep that variety present in our retailers.” Future Impact: “Despite the value lever in the market, let’s not forget consumers continue to look for the new and different in their cards, as with many products that they buy. There is something exciting about receiving a card that has a ‘something extra’. The recipient of a card feels incredibly special, and as the person sending it, it’s wonderful to discover something unique in a card to make that recipient feel really thought about. In fact, we know

that uniqueness of the product is a main

motivator to buy among 42% of consumers. By being creative with physical added features or via taking them online or to an app to derive something extra from the card, you essentially open up a new category to the card market with immense opportunity to grow. This, of course, sits hand in hand with growing the more premium end of our market, but we have seen there is appetite for these cards among closer sends and special occasions. To ensure this type of product is easily accessible to consumers we need to make sure that we get the right cards in the right channels. This kind of card wouldn’t lend itself to the value sector of our market, but it certainly is ideal for destination card and gift shops.” Above: The expansion of Simply Clintons and Card Market further increases the visibility of value cards.

Bill Greeno business development manager of Paperlink: Significant Development: “I think the emergence of WHSmith’s Card Market shops is interesting, especially when there are more stores opening this year and independents may react to the fact that the product is being supplied by UKG. One very positive development was the emergence of the

National Thinking Of You Week, a move that will benefit retailers and publishers alike.” Future Impact: “More and more retailers (independents included) seem to be moving to the idea of brokerage. While I can see the advantages for some, I’m not sure whether this supply route has the same advantages for single site retailers as it does for multiples.”

Above: Bill Greeno. Left: Card Market’s expansion is bound to prompt reaction from the consumer as well as those in the trade.

Ceri Stirland

director of marketing of UKG: Significant Development:“There are clear signs of recovery in the UK economy, however shoppers’ budgets are still under pressure. Consumers are seeking good value for money and we have seen retailers respond to this. There have been changes in the retail landscape yet again, with the introduction of Simply Clintons and Card Market at one end of the scale and Jolie Papier stores at the other.” Future Impact: “Consumers are increasingly welcoming technology into their lives and it will be interesting to see how this innovation at retail plays out in the next 12 months and the impact it has on our industry. However, I believe that a number of consumers are starting to question the effect of technology on their lives and their privacy. One result is that more people are trying to find a balance and be more mindful of living in the moment. As we move further into the digital age we may start to fear and resent technology. Consumers will start to place a high value on all that is human... and that can only be good for our industry.” Above: Ceri Stirland.

Jayne Myers

managing director of Paper Rose: Significant Development: “For me one of the significant industry events of 2014 was the Card Factory flotation - not just the flotation itself, but the positive publicity that came with it for the whole greetings sector. It showed that we are all alive and kicking, and not as previously reported, in mortal plight, with all our customers preferring social media to sending their wishes and sentiments by card.” Future Impact: “There are two things for me, which we need to be aware of and watch the development of. Firstly, that more retailers are moving into the value sector so that Card Factory will not have it all its own way. This must be positive for the consumer having more choice, but only time will tell if it will be good for the industry or will it lead to further polarisation within the market. In the States there is a relatively small independent sector for the small house publishers to sell to, our independents

Left: Young graduates are the lifeblood of the industry.


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