Holiday greeting cards still outweigh e-cards in terms of sentiment and personal touch, recent surveys indicate. Even digital natives say a card in the mail evokes a stronger reaction than a text or email. Yet, each year, fewer and fewer people are sending holiday greeting cards through the mail.

In 2011, American households on average sent about 16 holiday greeting cards, according to the Postal Service’s recently released 2012 Household Diary Study report. Twelve years earlier, 23 holiday cards were sent. Data from the Greeting Card Association also chart the downward trend: U.S. consumers bought 1.5 billion holiday cards in 2011, compared to 2.7 billion in 1995.

Still, mailed holiday greeting cards remain an important component of the Postal Service’s revenues for the year, as single-piece First-Class letters are one of the Postal Service’s most profitable products. While mail is not as seasonal as it used to be, a strong holiday season still sets the tone for the entire fiscal year.

It seems unlikely that this trend in holiday greeting cards can be easily reversed, given the overall decline in mail use and a growing comfort with digital communications. But, perhaps some small innovations might revive interest in sending holiday greeting cards. For example, Australia Post is pioneering the use of “video stamps” – a recorded 15-second video that the addressee can view using a smart phone app. While the post is allowing the stamps on parcels only at the moment, a similar type QR code might provide an interesting opportunity for greeting cards.

What other innovations or digital enhancements might work well on hard-copy greeting cards? Do you plan on sending greeting cards this year? Do you expect to send more or fewer cards than last year? 

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  • anon

    Received a post card from USPS this week about send Went to the website,doesnt exist. Went to to get a link,doesnt exist. Having retired from the PO after 40 years, this is just another example of why they are in trouble. I saw so much in those years,people promoted not because they new the job but because they were his or her buddy. Now these people are running the PO without the skill to do so. We had delivery tracking devices that you had to link to a cell phone to be live. UPS had one tracking device for all and 2 years before. Our biggest competitor UPS now brings there packages to us to deliver. They save money while we get the peanuts. When are we going to wake up?

    Oct 31, 2015
  • anon

    I went on line to your site on 12-8-13 to order Christmas stamps. As of today, December 17, the stamps have still not been delivered. My call to inquire was met with a response that there had been bad weather last week in Kansas City where they were shipped form so there was a delay. They are supposed to be delivered in2 business days!!! I could have walked t KC and back to get them by now. Yet another reason why the Postal Service loses money. Get with it you people. Where are my stamps?

    Dec 17, 2013
  • anon

    Hello, We encourage you to contact the U.S. Postal Service regarding the stamps you ordered, as this matter does not fall within the jurisdiction of this office. You may file a complaint online at or call 1-800-782-6724. Thank you, U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General

    Dec 19, 2013

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