Every Valentine’s Day, around 144 million greetings cards are sent to loved ones – just a small proportion of the seven billion greetings cards that are purchased in the USA each year.

The greetings cards industry continues to thrive in our digital age.  While it might be thought that digitalisation and the development of e-cards might be a threat to the traditional greetings card industry, American households continue to send an average of 30 printed paper greetings cards to loved ones each year.

It’s a similar picture elsewhere: the latest GCA Market Report shows that in 2017 the UK public spent £1.7 billion on greeting cards.  The total USA market is believed to be around $7.5 billion.

In fact, digitalisation is reinvigorating the greetings cards industry.

Online greeting cards are a growing segment of the overall industry.  In 2016, online platforms that sell personalised printed greeting cards generated $393 million in revenues – creating a new industry segment that employs more than 1,000 people in the UK alone.

For entrepreneurs who were quick to spot the potential for innovation that digital print could bring to the greetings card industry, the rewards have been large.  The first digital card printing company in the UK, Moonpig, was founded in 1998 on a shoestring budget.  It sold in 2011 to online retailer Photobox £120 million.

Since 2013, the online segment of the industry has been growing at an average rate of 6.2 percent each year.

Digitalisation isn’t only transforming the industry in terms of the possibilities for personalisation either.  It is opening up new possibilities for creativity.

Digital printers offer a platform for designers, artists and small start-ups to print small runs of cards at a low cost – thereby creating a low-risk production model and making it more viable to sell arts cards direct to the consumer.

Rather than being dominated by one or two large conglomerates, through which artists had to sell their designs, the industry is now wide open to smaller and niche producers, such as Banter cards and Text From A Friend in the UK.

The digital print company Moo has also helped to redefine this marketplace; using its marketing communications to promote the work of artists who use its printing services.  This strategy rewards its customers while showcasing the quality of its products.

Far from posing a threat to the printed greetings card industry, digitalisation is reinvigorating the sector with new possibilities, new entrants and new creativity.