• Three quarters of people who celebrate Christmas prefer physical cards to digital versions, according to Royal Mail research on card sending trends
  • A third of pet owners include their beloved animal in the sign off
  • 78% rate Christmas cards as important for maintaining relationships with friends and family 

More than three quarters (77 per cent) of people say they would rather receive a physical Christmas card to a digital one this year, according to Royal Mail research into card sending trends.

Nine out of 10 people surveyed said they send Christmas cards – making it the top Christmas tradition, joint only with giving gifts.

Only two per cent say they prefer digital versions, the One Poll survey of 2,000 people who have sent or received cards in the past reveals. The remainder were happy with either.

Despite the huge number of ways to stay in touch with people in the digital world, 63 per cent of people said their preferred way to receive Christmas well wishes this year would be a card. This compared to 11 per cent favouring a text message or WhatsApp and six per cent wanting a phone call.

The research also unveiled a quirky trend – a third of pet owners say they plan to include their beloved animal’s name when they sign their cards this year.

If you’re wondering what to write in your card, the results are divided. Whilst 40 per cent say they appreciate an update on family or personal life, 40 per cent prefer simple well wishes for the festive period. A quarter (24%) say they would like to receive a photo.

If you feel guilty when you receive a card from someone not on your list, you are not alone – almost half (44 per cent) said they would send a card to anyone who sent them one.

Those who do send cards can be confident their well wishes are gratefully received – 89 per cent of people say they display all the cards they are sent. This compares with just five per cent of people who only display a selection from their closest friends and relatives.

The research shows how valued the tradition still is, with four out of five people (78 per cent) saying they think Christmas cards are important for maintaining relationships with friends and family.

The tradition is also helpful for raising money for worthy causes – with 37 per cent of people saying they usually buy cards from charity shops.

Nick Landon, Chief Commercial Officer at Royal Mail, said: “The festive period is by far our busiest time of the year – about double the amount of mail is sent during December compared with other months. The research shows that sending and receiving cards remains a much-loved tradition for the majority of people, and our postmen and women will be working hard to deliver all of these Christmas wishes.”

Amanda Fergusson, CEO of the Greetings Cards Association, said: “This survey precisely matches what our members already appreciate – that Britain has a special love affair with cards, especially at Christmas. And we all love greetings cards as part of our Christmas decorations at home. Greeting cards are just amazing little things that boost mental wellbeing, support communities, your local postie, and a thriving, vibrant, creative industry that’s so important to high streets and the wider British economy.”

Allison Swaine-Hughes, Retail Director at the British Heart Foundation, said: “Sending a message to someone special over the festive period is a tradition many of us cherish. At the British Heart Foundation we sell about 10 million Christmas cards and it’s heart-warming to know 10 million people could have a BHF card on their mantel piece this year. By shopping instore or online with us for your charity Christmas cards, shoppers are helping to give a gift that keeps on giving and keep hearts beating for Christmases to come.”

Royal Mail is encouraging customers to order their online gifts and shopping well in advance, and to post their festive greetings early, to help its postmen and women deliver the bumper festive mailbag. Its latest recommended posting dates for mail to arrive in time for Christmas 2023 are:

Monday 18 December: 
2nd Class
2nd Class Signed For

Wednesday 20 December:         
1st Class
1st Class Signed For

Friday 22 December:
Special Delivery Guaranteed®

Further information is available at www.royalmail.com/greetings

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