There's more than a billion of them, they're spreading holiday cheer and they're heading to a mailbox near you. Greeting cards will once again be making spirits bright this season. YNN's Sarah Blazonis has more on who's buying them and what the industry is doing to appeal to the next generation of shoppers.
ONONDAGA COUNTY, N.Y. -- Just getting one can make you smile.
"Oh, I like to know that people are thinking about me the way I think of them," said Syracuse resident Annamarie Kogut as she shopped at Annie's Hallmark Sunday.
It's a message around 1.6 billion Americans will receive this season. That's how many holiday cards the U.S. Greeting Card Association expects to fly off store shelves in 2012.
"If I can't get in touch with the people personally through the course of the year, I feel Christmas is a good time to get in touch," said Kogut.
"I send some personal cards, but I also send picture cards of my two boys and sometimes my dog," said Laura Caloia, another shopper.
A simple "Merry Christmas" or "Happy Chanukah" will cost you about 99 cents, but specialty cards or saying "season's greetings" with a song could get you up near the $10 range. Shoppers say they don't mind forking over the extra cash for close family and friends, but those sending dozens of cards turn to the boxed option.
"I think it's the most economical, and probably, I bought these boxes, like, two years ago when I saw them somewhere on sale and I managed to unearth them," said Anne Buerkle of Syracuse, who was shopping near the Cicero Target's card section.
While shoppers are expected to pick up $427 million in individual cards alone this season, only one in four of those customers is expected to be from the Millennial and Gen Y age groups. But that doesn't mean store owners are worried about the future of their business.
"Once they start having families of their own, we do see the young moms coming in and they also probably have some more money to spend at that time in their lives," said Shelly Mahoney, owner of Annie's Hallmark.
And with shoppers wanting to work new items into their holiday traditions, the GCA expects the tradition to stay strong for years to come.