In 2012 the Post Office decided on a massive price rise in postage. The second class stamp for letters and cards in the UK soared from 36p to 50p, an increase of 39%. Many people bought stamps in advance of the price rise which will cushion the blow, but you would expect volume to decline on the back of such a large price rise.
In the UK people have traditionally sent many more Christas cards than other types of cards and letters during the year. It will be interesting to see what impact the new high rates of postage have on card volumes. Some may still be working their way through the stamps they bought at the old prices this year, but by next year that effect will have disappeared.
At exactly the same time that the Post Office embarked on its high price strategy the principal rival, the electronic card, was making inroads into the market anyway. I am finding this year that many institutions and companies that used to send a card now send out an e card instead. It can represent a substantial saving if you have a large mailing list.
I like sending and receiving Christmas cards. MPs will doubtless be amongst the last groups of people to carry on sending out cards, honouring the tradition.
There are two types of card which I have not be so pleased to accept in the past. The one is the cards from organisations that use the Christmas card to lobby and make political points. This seems to me to be a distortion of the true purpose of the card, to wish people well and to keep in touch in a friendly way. A lobby mail out discussing the issues when needed would seem to me to be a better and more honest use of the lobby group’s money, than a hard hitting or phoney card.
The second are cards from public sector bodies where no-one sending them out troubles to sign them or personalise them in any way. I wonder why they do that, and why someone authorises spending public money on them if they cannot be bothered to say who they are from, and or why someone has sent them.
I would be interested in your experiences of sending and receiving cards. I expect the volumes to be down this year. I am hand delivering more cards where I can, as I do think the current price of postage is too high for all the cards people would like to send.
Do you like ecards? Will they take over? Is the high cost of postage killing the festive spirit and damaging the card business? Should public bodies spend taxpayer money on sending out cards? If so, who should receive them?