November 16, 2013 § Leave a comment
It’s the time of the year when we begin thinking about sending holiday greetings to friends and family far and wide. Will it be an online greeting this year or a sentimental real paper card with pictures of the family and a special note? Will it be written in cursive or typed away on a convenient laptop? Will it be mailed with a 46-cent stamp or whisked through the web at no cost?
Have we lost our social graces? Or are we entering a new phase of how we relate our love? It seems we are in a cultural shift brought about by technology, budget concerns, digital natives and time deprivation.
Decline of Traditional Greetings
The United States Postal Service, which has its own problems, reported that the number of greeting cards mailed within the US declined by 24 percent from 2002 to 2010 and is still dropping. A perfect storm of migration to online services, a financial recession, busy lifestyles and younger digital consumers are creating new traditions for holidays and special days like birthdays.
A greeting cards industry report this year from IbisWorld says the sale of traditional cards has fallen by 60 percent over the last decade, to $5 billion a year. Last year Hallmark reported that their 2012 card sales dropped to 5 billion, from 6 billion in 2011. And American Greetings has had to go private after a 60% decline in revenue.
Growth of Digital Greetings
Remember your birthday this year? Chances are you got more Facebook Birthday greetings than you ever received cards? Why? Well, it’s so easy. Facebook reminds you. And you can even send a gift card if you want to really express some love. With Facebook, those annual holiday letters are not as important anymore. We see regular updates of our friends and know what is going on in their lives.
All the while, e-greetings are growing. Online card sales (both e-cards and custom printed ones) have grown to $3.5 billion in 2012 from just $65 million a decade ago. Both Hallmark, the number one provider, and American Greetings, the number two, have digital greetings divisions. And there are a plethora of other greetings companies like Egreetings, Blue Mountain, someecards and Dayspring. The trends are to more personalized or more irreverent cards than the traditional drugstore cards.
Growth of Handmade Cards
At the same time, there is a resurgence in small companies that provide special handmade cards. With a higher price than normal cards, the handmade card is actually the gift itself. There is also a big business in crafting for card making. Just ask the ladies at my church who make very special cards with special design stamps, craft supplies, pictures and glue.
So what’s your choice this year? Let me know how you will share your holiday greetings?
September 10, 2013 § 1 Comment
Whether we have the latest smartphone or a second generation tablet, we are all using them to shop! A recent study by AOL showed that the conversion rate for mobile purchases grew 28%. What does that mean? Well, it means that people actually made a purchase while on their mobile device. A whopping 31% of conversions across four verticals occurred while using a mobile device. And the industries with the highest conversion rates were telecom, retail, auto and travel.
Mobile Device Share of Online Conversions (% on Smartphone and Tablet; August 2013) The findings are based on analytics from more than 500 billion online ad impressions and 100M conversion events across all devices, such as mobile phones, desktop computer and tablets.
Telecom – Purchase of a new plan or device – 37%
Retail – Make a purchase – 35%
Auto – Find dealer, request info, configure, travel – 22%
Travel – Book hotel, flight or car reservation – 20%There has been a misconception that mobile really means only mobile – that we are using devices only on the go. But actually 25% of our digital is spent at home and that is where we are viewing and purchasing many things. And 75% of all mobile ad impressions were viewed within the home. A lot of that has to do with the amazing adoption of tablets, iPads in particular.
“What we’re learning is that consumers are increasingly using their mobile devices in much the same way they do with their computers when they’re at home,” said Chad Gallagher, director of mobile for AOL networks. “Looking at holistic impression volume, 25 percent of all digital impressions are consumed on a mobile device at home – which speaks to why users are performing complex functionality on their mobile devices. The data means that companies must understand mobile tracking and enable technology that can run across all platforms to account for the massive business opportunity on mobile devices. Net-net, we need to re-think how we market through the tablet. Marketers are realizing that they can’t afford to run desktop-only campaigns anymore.”
Historically, advertisers focus on branding or driving the purchase of mobile-centric offerings. The AOL points to an opportunity to drive conversions for a much wider array of products and services through mobile.