Will Apple Cards Reshape the Greeting Card Industry?

Were you surprised by Apple’s announcement of the new Cards app for iPhone? You shouldn’t be — it’s a multi-billion dollar industry that has so far weathered the recession better than most.

According to the U.S. Greeting Card Association, Americans send 7 billion greeting cards every year, with the average household buying 30 cards. Retail sales of greeting cards within the States are estimated to be in excess of $7.5 billion.

The figures are no less impressive when you leave U.S. shores. The UK’s Greeting Card Association reports £1.386 billion was spent on “single” (as opposed to multipack) cards alone in the last year. The UK card industry has also seen annual growth — a value increase of 3% and a volume increase of 2.7% — in the face of tough retail conditions.

The potential for Apple to app-ify the card personalizing, buying and sending process seems huge. Especially when you consider that around 80% of cards are currently bought by women.

But what about the developers already offering successful ecard solutions? How will the new Cards app cut into their business?

We’ve asked a handful of top developers, traditional greeting card companies with digital off-shoots, and industry bodies for their reaction to the Apple Cards app news.

Greeting Card Association, USA

From Greeting Card Association vice president Steve Doyal, senior vice president, public affairs and communications at Hallmark Cards, Inc.:

“Apple’s announcement is a strong endorsement of the enduring value of a printed greeting card delivered through the mail.

“Many of our Greeting Card Association members have online services and capabilities similar to the product now being offered by Apple.

“The GCA welcomes the affirmation of the emotional impact a printed card delivers.”

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Do you think there’s space in the market for Apple? Are you looking forward to the Cards app? Will you ditch an existing app for Cards? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

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