New research by Royal Mail has revealed that traditional Christmas cards are still our favourite way of sending festive wishes, even among younger generations.

New research by Royal Mail1 has revealed that traditional Christmas cards are still our favourite way of sending festive wishes, even among younger generations.

Almost 80% of respondents would rather receive a printed Christmas card over an e-card. And despite widespread use of technology and social media, only 1.7% of people said that a message over WhatsApp would be the most meaningful way of receiving Christmas well wishes.

The research also showed that Christmas cards are an important part of the festive atmosphere - over three quarters of respondents agreed that Christmas cards help spread festive cheer and goodwill, and almost 70% using them as Christmas decorations around the house.

Over 80% of respondents are planning on sending at least the same number of Christmas cards this year as last. Immediate family are the most popular recipients, followed by close friends. Other recipients include clients, friends that live far away, and even pets.

And despite the ever increasing popularity of social media among younger people, 18-24 year olds are actually most likely to prefer a physical Christmas card to an e-card. 18-24 year olds are also the most likely to make their own cards, with 34% saying this is something they do around Christmas time, compared to the overall average of 18%.

Royal Mail spokesperson David Gold said: “Nothing matches the feeling of receiving a personalised Christmas card that can be displayed proudly in your home.

“We all look forward to a heartfelt greeting, news from someone living far away or simply knowing you are in a loved one’s thoughts. For all of us here at Royal mail, that really is the true spirit of Christmas.”

Christmas card sales

According to the Greeting Card Association (GCA)2, over 1.13 billion Christmas cards are bought each year in the UK. Of these, an estimated 900 million Christmas cards are sold in packs and boxes worth £230 million, and 100 million higher priced single Christmas cards are bought worth £186 million, accounting for 12% of all singles card sales annually.

Sharon Little, Chief Executive of the Greeting Card Association, said: ‘This research confirms that sending Christmas cards is a central part of how we love to celebrate Christmas.

“Christmas cards are a physical representation of the connections between people and it’s when the cards start arriving that we start to feel festive, close to the people in our lives and in touch with friends we may not have seen for some time.

“People display their cards in their homes to feel surrounded by their community of friends and family. This physical aspect is something that can’t be provided by social media – you can’t put an ecard on your mantelpiece!”


Source: Royal Mail


1)    Poll methodology: All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from OnePoll.  Total sample size was 2000 adults that celebrate Christmas and send/receive Christmas cards.  Fieldwork was undertaken between 18.10–20.10 2017. The survey was carried out online.

2)    Figures published in GCA Market Report 2017 - http://www.greetingcardassociation.org.uk/resources/for-publishers/the-market/facts-and-figures