Humbug for Christmas as cards are cut
New research from leading communication experts, Pitney Bowes, has shown that consumers are shortening their Christmas card recipient list due to increased cost of living, with 55% planning on sending fewer cards this year. This is despite 41% still seeing it as an important method of staying in touch and over a third (38%) as in keeping with tradition.
What’s more, businesses also appear to be shying away from traditional Christmas cards this year for fear of offending personal beliefs, with nearly a third (33%) admitting that they were concerned about appearing to be insensitive. In contrast, the majority of consumers (83%) did not associate any negative connotations with sending Christmas cards.
Whilst consumers may be frugal when it comes to sending cards this Christmas, businesses should see it as a worthwhile investment. Although cutting back might make financial sense for consumers, businesses should view it as an integral part of customer relationship management. With fewer Christmas cards from family and friends, particularly amongst the less financially stable 18-24 year old age group – of whom nearly a fifth (18%) said that they couldn’t afford to send Christmas cards this year – customers are likely to be grateful for the personal touch and in turn boost customer loyalty ahead of the New Year.
The research also compared traditional cards with e-cards, which are becoming increasingly common in the digital age. The overriding opinion was that electronic Christmas cards are considered to be impersonal, with 71% of consumers and 54% of businesses stating this viewpoint. However, most surprisingly of all, was that as many as 16% of businesses would delete an e-Christmas card without even opening it. This was also reflected by nearly a tenth (9.3%) of consumers, who might presume it to be mass marketing or junk mail. Pitney Bowes urges businesses to take notice of these results and in turn influence their communication with not only customers, but also business partners.
The research findings imply business should not underestimate the value of traditional mail this Christmas. Colin Forrest, Head of Marketing for UK and ROI at Pitney Bowes said “There is certainly still a place for traditional mail and Christmas time is far from an exception. Consumers clearly value the personal and traditional elements of a physical Christmas card and therefore businesses should seize this as an opportunity to encourage customer loyalty. Aside from being able to communicate top line business messages in this format, the Christmas card plays upon customer sentimentality, which is a powerful emotion in the consumer landscape. Businesses should get in to the Christmas spirit this year and get posting!”