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According to the Greeting Card Association (GCA), 1.3 billion cards are sold during the holiday season. For many, holiday cards are a festive and upbeat way to spread cheer and update friends and family with the events of the year. Using our Insights Platform, PureSpectrum polled Americans to see if and when they plan to send cards this year? We also asked about card preferences and budgets. Read on to learn more about the holiday card trends of 2021.

2021 Holiday Cards

79% of American households we polled said they receive holiday cards from friends and family. Just over 50% of respondents said they typically receive up to 1- 8 cards a year and 24% receive up to 20. Interestingly, more people say they receive cards than send them. Our poll shows that 65% of respondents said they typically send holiday cards. But with pandemic concerns still keeping some people from gathering this holiday season, will consumers be sending more cards this year? 60% reported that they will be sending cards this year while 17% are still deciding. 

The winter holidays are quickly approaching, and so are holiday card deadlines. 45% of respondents say they try to get cards mailed by December 15th. 13% of proactive respondents say they aim to ship before Thanksgiving and 22% aim for before December 25th. 

Card Styles 

With so many styles to choose from, we asked respondents what type of cards they usually send. The most popular style includes printed photos, followed by generic holiday greeting cards. When using the Insights Platform to filter responses, we saw that households with children under 18 are almost twice as likely to send cards with photos than households that don’t. 

Average cups of coffee Americans consume

Source: PureSpectrum Insights Platform

To that end, 26% of respondents say they have or will schedule photo shoots for their holiday cards this year and 16% are still deciding. Cards with photos related to the sender are also the most popular to receive. 55% of respondents like cards with photos, 18% prefer cards without them and almost 20% say they have no preference. Only 8% of card recipients say they like receiving virtual holiday cards. 

Where and Why Cards are Purchased 

63% of households say they send out between 1-20 holiday cards a year. Price is certainly paramount when choosing a holiday card retailer. Walmart is the most popular purveyor of cards with Target and Amazon as the next preference. However, when again utilizing the filters offered on the PureSpectrum Insights platform, we see how retailer preferences change depending on a sender’s budget. 

How brewing preferences change by age

Source: PureSpectrum Insights Platform

Looking at the trends our survey uncovered, it seems that Americans are already putting a lot of thought into their holiday cards. Preference for affordable cards with personalization options will be much sought after. We look forward to seeing what this season delivers!

Curious to dive deeper into our data set? Email us at

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PureSpectrum interviewed 218 online respondents on November 9, 2021, using the PureSpectrum Insights Platform. The platform is integrated with the PureSpectrum Marketplace which combines proprietary measurement tools and third-party data validation to quickly collect high-quality insights. The study was fielded in less than 10 minutes and was cleaned and ready for analysis in under an hour. We targeted respondents within the United States and consisted of a general population audience of 21+ years old. This study uses a 95% confidence level to examine the data.

About PureSpectrum 

PureSpectrum offers a complete end-to-end market research and insights platform, helping insights professionals make decisions more efficiently, and faster than ever before. Awarded MR Supplier of the Year at the 2021 Marketing Research and Insight Excellence Awards, PureSpectrum is recognized for industry-leading data quality. PureSpectrum developed the respondent-level scoring system,  PureScore™, and believes their continued success stems from their talent density and dedication to simplicity and quality.

In the few years since its inception, PureSpectrum has been named one of the Fastest Growing Companies in North America on Deloitte’s Fast 500 since 2020, and ranked for three years in a row on the GRIT Top 50 Most Innovative List and the Inc. 5000 lists.