Guest blog by Cards for Good Causes
There were many predictions made early on in the season that Christmas card sales could see a resurgence this year. As early as August, Google data showed demand in 2020 was already well above 2019 (4.61k in August 2020 versus 3.65k in August 2019).
In September, Trend Bible reported that “gifting and celebration are activities which have thrived during lockdown. Everyday, and ‘just because’ giving has boomed as we realise the importance of relationships and becoming more emotionally literate as a society. Christmas 2020 is set to be a bumper season with householders looking to make up for lost time”. Retailers were also reporting that searches for Christmas products had seen a marked increase on the same time in 2019 and figures released last week seem to suggest these predictions have come true, with one high street retailer seeing Christmas card sales up by 69% in store and over 200% online.
Cards for Good Causes, the UK’s largest charity Christmas card retailer with over 150 pop-up shops throughout the UK and an Online Shop, saw online sales start to increase as early as August and they have continued to rise with a significant increase over the last few weeks, trading 300% up on last year. The market was looking extremely buoyant which was fantastic news for all of the 250+ charities supported who had not been able to raise funds through other means this year such as events. Shops were also seeing significant early growth but the announcement of lockdown in November in a key Christmas trading month obviously now has the potential to be devastating for shop retail.
It is clear that for many the feeling of warmth and comfort from receiving a tangible, personal card from a loved one in the post has resonated in this difficult year, and sending a charity card delivers even more of an impact, providing support for charities who so need the crucial income that Christmas Card sales provide – tapping into the groundswell of goodwill and support from the public for charities they care about throughout 2020.
What does the opportunity look like now?
Lockdown means a lot of retailers that would have sold cards and gifts have also been forced to close, and not all of them will be able to shift online, do click and collect or offer an attractive alternative option. Cards for Good Causes and charities themselves offer a product which provides the highest level of donation to charity, compared (for example) with supermarket charity cards, which for some will be the only retailer open.
The survey by OnePoll referred to above also bodes well for the charity sector looking to secure Christmas card and gift purchases:
- More than 70% said they intended to post more or the same amount of Christmas cards this year compared to 51% who said they intended to send more or the same amount of virtual greetings last year
- While a quarter of people have already visited shops for Christmas shopping, 54% of respondents had not yet visited the shops to start their Christmas shopping
At Cards for Good Causes, our evidence for demand has been overwhelming – our network of shops have sold four times as much as we would expect on an average day since the lockdown was announced as customers flocked to our shops to try and buy before the lockdown, and our online sales are nearly 400% than last year. There is definitely demand for charity Christmas cards – we just need to get them to customers to generate the most support for our charities possible.
We are proud to have been instrumental in the setting up of part of the Charity Retail Association’s #GoodCauseSantaClaus campaign to urge the public to buy their cards online direct from charities. Read more here.
For those of you who do not have online operations or click and collect facilities, we may be able to help. Cards for Good Causes is a not-for-profit organisation and has a huge selection of charity Christmas cards and seasonal gifts with 100% of its proceeds given back to local and national charities – that’s at least 70p in every £1 taken from the sale of cards which is a much higher proportion than most other retailers. In the past ten years, Cards for Good Causes has given over £40 million to the charities it partners with and has aspirations to do even better this year with charities needing vital funds more than ever in the current COVID-19 Crisis.
We have responded to the lockdown by launching a Click and Collect service at major shops, exploring collaborations with retailers who can remain open and doing all we can to promote our Online Shop, which contains a huge range of cards – we represent more than 250 charities including Cancer Research UK, Barnardo’s, Alzheimer’s Society and RNLI as well as a number of small local charities. We would be able to speak to any charities looking to find a way to reach their supporters with their own cards if they do not have their own Online Shop or another channel to market.