Aussies crave that personal touch

Sending a message, for a birthday or other important occasion, by text or using social media is perceived as a cop out as Australians overwhelmingly prefer to receive a handwritten card, a new Omnipoll survey shows.

While sending messages for birthdays or other celebrations using digital channels such as social media, e-mail or text may be popular (almost 90 percent of the 1225 study participants had done it in the past 12 months), there was no doubt that Australians of all ages, including younger generations, feel more special when someone sends a card.

The vast majority of respondents (84 percent), felt that when they received a card in the mail, the person sending the card had gone to a lot more effort, which they highly valued, but only 51 percent of those surveyed had sent a card in the previous year.

Melbourne-based clinical psychologist Dr Melissa Keogh said: “People crave more authentic experiences and meaningful connections, and this study shows that digital communications are far less likely to make someone feel special.

“The survey’s major finding was that 67 percent of people believe that receiving a card in the mail would make them feel more special than receiving a message by social media, but if they had to choose only one method of communicating, just 31 percent of people believe they would actually make the effort to send a card themselves,” she said.

“There are lots of reasons why we don’t always do it ourselves, even though we understand its impact. But this survey confirms it may be one of the most effective ways of showing someone close to us that we care about them.”

The survey commissioned by Hallmark Australia shows Australians understand the emotional power of a card, with 81 percent having bought a card over the past year. Birthday cards are still the most popular occasion (76 percent) followed by Christmas (63 percent). Interestingly, more people say they’d buy a Mother’s Day card (36 percent) compared with a Father’s Day card (27 percent).

Although younger generations (the millennials aged between 18 and 34) are more inclined to perceive social media as having a positive impact on relationships – more than a third had also sent a card in the previous year.

Almost half (47 percent) of those under 35 felt social media had a positive impact on relationships, but nearly a quarter (24 percent) felt its impact was negative.
Women are still more likely than men to send a card for a birthday, anniversary or other occasion. The study showed that over the past year, 87 percent of women bought a card for someone else, with men closely following at 75 percent of respondents.

Of the people who valued receiving a card, rather than a text or message on social media:
·       47 percent valued the time and effort it had taken for someone to send them a card;
·       32 percent felt sending a card was a more personal approach and allowed for a more personal message which showed the other person valued the relationship; and
·       11 percent like that a card is a tangible and more permanent – so it can be easily kept or displayed whereas social media or text messages cannot.

“What is interesting is that, in the age of the internet and smart phones, cards are possibly even more effective than when they were the only common choice – especially if they have a handwritten note or a design which is carefully selected – in showing someone that you care about them,” Dr Keogh said. “And it is psychologically beneficial for the person sending the card, as well as the person receiving it.”

Jennifer Nolch, Hallmark Australia Marketing Director, said the #CareEnough campaign – to launch later this year, will encourage Australians to pick up a pen and send a greeting card to someone they care about. 

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Interview opportunities:
Dr Melissa Keogh, Clinical Psychologist
Jennifer Nolch, Hallmark Australia Marketing Director
For survey data, further information or interview opportunities, please contact:
Cristina Rudnicki, Communicado
03 9522 9984 | 0422 725 100
Alexandra Brudenell, Communicado
03 9522 9954 | 0402 442 721
Omnipoll Cards and Celebrations Study. Conducted March – April 2017. 1225 participants aged 18 years and over surveyed nationally online. Commissioned by Hallmark Australia.