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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Say it’s your altogether or you’ve aloof had a baby, maybe got affianced or bought your aboriginal house. If you’re like abounding Americans, your accompany are texting their congratulations, sending you an e-card or beat “Like” on your Facebook wall.
But how abounding will accelerate a cardboard greeting card?
“I’m really, absolutely bad at it,” said Melissa Uhl. The 25-year-old assistant from Kansas City, Mo., hears from accompany abundantly through Facebook. “Maybe,” she said, “an e-card from my mom.”
Once a basic of birthdays and holidays, cardboard greeting cards are beneath and further amidst — now apparent as article special, instead of article that’s required. The cultural about-face is a awkward claiming for the nation’s top agenda maker, Hallmark Cards Inc., which aftermost anniversary appear it will abutting a Kansas bulb that fabricated one-third of its greeting cards. In accumulation its Kansas operations, Kansas City-based Hallmark affairs to afford 300 jobs.
Pete Burney, Hallmark’s arch carnality admiral who across production, says “competition in our industry is absolutely formidable” and that “consumers do accept added means to affix digitally and online and through amusing media.”
Over the accomplished decade, the cardinal of greeting cards awash in the U.S. has abandoned from 6 billion to 5 billion annually, by Hallmark’s estimates. The Greeting Card Association, an industry barter accumulation based in White Plains, N.Y., puts the overall-sold amount at 7 billion.
Brian Sword, 34, of Kansas City, said he’s “definitely” affairs and accepting beneath printed cards than he did a decade ago, admitting he still prefers to accelerate them to — and accept them from — a baby accumulation of abutting accompany and family.
“I do anticipate there are a lot of allowances and it does say added back it comes in a cardboard agenda architecture than back it comes alike as an online greeting card,” Sword said. “There’s aloof article about accepting that agenda in the mail and aperture it up and accepting it be a concrete card.”
Even the cardboard cards bodies buy accept changed. Abounding bodies now use online photo sites to upload images and address their own greetings. High-end cardboard food are alluring barter who architecture their own cards, sometimes application cartoon software already accessible abandoned to professionals.
“What Hallmark started with met the needs of the consumers in that aboriginal 20th aeon aeon to accumulation aftermath these claimed greeting cards with art and balladry and the abandoned way you could acquaint was by mail essentially,” said Pam Danziger, who analyzes the industry as admiral of Stevens, Pa.-based Unity Marketing. “It’s no abruptness that in the 21st aeon with so abounding added advice cartage accessible that the old abstraction of a greeting card actuality beatific by mail aloof doesn’t assignment anymore.”
According to a U.S. Postal Account study, accord such as greeting cards fell 24 percent amidst 2002 and 2010. Invitations abandoned alone about 25 percent aloof amidst 2008 and 2010. The analysis attributed the abatement to “changing demographics and new technologies,” abacus that adolescent households “both accelerate and accept beneath pieces of accord mail because they tend to be aboriginal adaptors of new and faster advice media.”
While Hallmark says it’s committed to the cardboard greeting card, it has fabricated changes over the years. It has an iPhone app, for example, that lets bodies buy and mail cards from their phones. It additionally partnered with online agenda account Shutterfly to allotment designs that consumers can use to body specialized cards online.
Its arch rival, Cleveland, Ohio-based American Greetings, absolutely went from accent costs and jobs amidst the recession to announcement in August that it’s abacus 125 workers to an Osceola, Ark., plant. It’s allotment of an amplification that will acquiesce barter to architecture their own cards — online, of course.
Judith Martin, columnist of the amalgamated Miss Manners column, says she thinks the move abroad from banal affect isn’t all bad.
“The best academic situations still crave article written,” she said. “The atomic academic are calmly taken affliction of with texting or email, which is terrific. The abstraction that it has to be all one or all the added and that one adjustment is absolutely out of date and the added one takes over until the abutting affair comes forth aloof impoverishes the means that we can use these altered things.”
Amanda Holmboe, a 25-year-old ability bulb affection ascendancy artisan from Portland, Ore., has alloyed animosity about the acceleration of agenda communications. She said her accompany email, argument or column article on Facebook back article big happens in her life.
“More bodies apperceive about my activity and what’s activity on. I apprehend from added people, so in some means I’m affiliated to added people, but it’s a beneath claimed connection,” she said.
But Holmboe isn’t giving up on cards.
“I adulation sending cards,” she said, abacus that she mails some from the cities area she campaign for work. “I anticipate they’re fun, and I like actuality able to address a claimed agenda to somebody because I like accepting mail, so I assumption I aloof anticipate anybody brand accepting mail.”
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