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GCA Speaks Out Association adds its voice to the IRC, bira and Bank of England The last few weeks has seen the GCA’s ceo Amanda Fergusson put the greeting card industry on the map with the Independent Retailers Confederation (IRC), the British Independent Retailer Association (bira) and to the Bank of England (via The Senate of The Genesis Institute). “It makes absolute sense that the GCA adds its voice to other bodies that have the potential to make a real difference to our members’ businesses, whether on the publishing, retailing or trade supply sides,” said Amanda. “The IRC, bira and the Genesis Institute all have access to government and by having an open dialogue with them, we can feed into their lobbying,” added Amanda. “The fact that 94% of greeting cards are still bought in bricks and mortar stores has been of real interest to these
organisations, many of whom are amazed at the size of our industry, both in the amount of revenue it generates £1.7 billion in UK retail alone - as well as the number of people in direct employment - a conservative estimate being 100,000.” The IRC, which represents over 100,000 UK independent retailers, is working on a high street regeneration project and is currently looking to identify ‘beacon towns’ where there are strong local communities who are working well to support local businesses. “I know that within the greeting card sector we have some great indie movers and shakers that have already contributed to making a difference in their respective localities. It would be great to hear from those who would like to put their town forward to become part of this programme,” urged Amanda. (Amanda can be emailed on firstname.lastname@example.org). Above: The GCA’s ceo Amanda Fergusson with Ojay McDonald, ceo of Association of Town and City Management (ATCM), who made a presentation at the recent meeting. Left: The Senate of the Genesis Institute, met at the Bank of England, the GCA’s ceo Amanda Fergusson attended the meeting.
Cards are a ‘basket case’ Confirming how firmly entrenched greeting cards are in British society, they are one of the products that are used to measure current UK consumer price inflation. Every year the Office of National Statistics (ONS) compiles a “shopping basket” of items (products and services), the costs of which form the basis of measuring inflation. To make sure the measures are up-to-date and representative of how the public live their lives and spend their money, some items are taken out of Above: The ONS still includes greeting cards in its ‘basket’. the baskets and some are brought in. Jumping on the fact that ‘envelopes’ have been removed from the basket, some media coverage intimated that this included greeting cards. This is most definitely not the case. The envelopes in question that are no longer ‘in the basket’ refer to packs of envelopes. An article in the Daily Mail, entitled ‘Now envelopes are delivered to history’, began ‘A note of thanks, a birthday card, a handwritten message from a far flung place - envelopes landing on the doormat have often held a certain excitement. But it seems they have now been delivered to the annals of history’, suggested some ambiguous coverage in the national press. Immediately seeking clarification and to affirm the strength of greeting cards as a consumer product, the GCA’s ceo Amanda Fergusson contacted the ONS. A speedy response from Mike Gibbs of the Retail Prices Index’s team delivered reassurance that there is no cause for concern, with both greeting cards and wrapping paper included in the Books, Newspapers and Stationery ‘basket’. He stated "... greeting cards are still very much a staple of UK expenditure...There are no plans to remove these from the basket anytime soon”. He confirmed that packs of envelopes a standalone item have been removed as “the expenditure has fallen to below the threshold for inclusion.”
Save the date - 17 October 2019 - for the GCA’s AGM, which will mark the association’s 100th anniversary! More details are to be announced shortly, but it will be held in a great London location!
Hallmark’s helps the lonely Loneliness, anxiety, depression, stress, the effects of ill-health and deep feeling of loss are some of the modern day issues that Hallmark has highlighted where a greeting card, if it hits the right tone for the sender and the recipient, can really help. The publisher embarked on a research project to map the nation’s mental and physical well-being before translating these findings into a special greeting card collection, entitled Here for You. Hallmark research highlighted how 30% of the UK population is lonely and one in six of Brits is suffering from a mental health issue. As well as talking to consumer focus groups, Hallmark also reached out to specialist charities and lobbying bodies for their input, which is reflected in 16 emotive greeting card designs. “The statistics highlight just how sadly common issues Above: This Hallmark of loneliness, mental design lends itself for health, anxiety and a deep loss. stress are in the UK,” Below: Hallmark’s said Tamsyn JohnstonTamsyn JohnstonHughes. Hughes, marketing business partner of Hallmark. Among the facts which stood out in this ongoing project are: l 20% of the older population is mildly lonely and another 8-10% is intensely lonely. (Source: Campaign to End Loneliness). l An estimated eight million (35%) of men in the UK feel lonely at least once a week, while for nearly three million (11%) it’s a daily occurrence. More than one in 10 men also say they are lonely, but would not admit it to anyone. (Source: Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness). l In England, one in six people report experiencing a common mental health problem (such as anxiety and depression) in any given week. (Source: Mind). l About 15 million people in England have a long-term health condition. (Source: The King’s Fund). l Young adults spend more than six hours a day ‘stressed out.’ (Source: Youth UK). l One in six young people experience an anxiety condition as the pressure to be 'where you think you should be' at the age of 30 kicks in. (Source: Age and Ageing).
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