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The cost of sending eCards vs traditional greeting cards


The average cost of a greeting card can’t be that much, can it? Discover the true price of sending greeting cards compared to eCards in this handy guide.

Frankly, we’re a little bit card obsessed, with the UK public spending a staggering £1.4bn on single greeting cards in 2020.

But as the cost-of-living increases and the push to go green intensifies, is it time to send traditional greeting cards on their merry little way and opt for eCards instead?

In this blog, we pit the cost of traditional against digital to help you come to a quick conclusion.

e-Cards vs traditional greeting cards

Digital vs physical. Traditional vs modern. Let the best greeting card solution win.

Round 1: What’s the average cost of a greeting card vs an eCard?

You may be thinking. Well, I only send a handful of cards a year. It can’t be that much, can it?

Think again.

The price of an average greeting card is around £2. Let’s multiply that number by the average amount of cards bought per person. According to PG Buzz, the overall average is 22 cards per person in the UK. So, before you’ve even sent it, you’re already spending £44.

Now, let’s add postage.

In May 2022, the average price of a first-class stamp rose by 10p to 95p, while second-class stamps increased by 2p to 68p.

For argument’s sake, let’s say we go second-class. So, multiply 68p by 22, and what do we get? £14.96.

That’s right, the average person is parting ways with close to £57 a year on greeting cards.

But before we factor in the additional costs, such as printing and environmental impacts, let’s compare these costs with eCards.

What’s the average cost of an eCard?

The average cost of an eCard is 0.99p by email or £2.50 by SMS. Multiply these by 22, and you get:

  • Email eCard – 0.99p x 22 = £21.78
  • Text message eCard – £2.50 x 22 = £55

While SMS maybe be more expensive than email, both eCard alternatives are cheaper than a traditional greeting card sent through the post.

Round 2: The environmental impact

Round 2. After establishing prices between traditional cards and eCards upon our own bank accounts, what about the further costs to the environment?

In times of climate change, sustainable solutions and alternatives have become paramount for the wellbeing of our planet. So, as pleasant as receiving a card in the post may be, are traditional greeting cards a sustainable practice? Plus, seeing as climate change affects the entire planet, I think we have little choice but to go beyond the UK to look at the greater environmental impact.

The environmental cost of printing greeting cards

A total of 708 million individual greeting cards were purchased in the UK in 2021, while the US buys an average of 6.5 billion greeting cards a year! Now try and factor in how one tree can produce 30,000 cards, and we’re looking at a disproportion between supply and demand on a global scale.

In the US and UK alone, billions of printed cards are printed every year. While some greeting cards are made from recycled paper, the majority are not, with 33% of paper not recycled in the UK every year. In the US, it gets worse, with approximately one billion trees worth of paper thrown away every year!

Despite trees being a regenerative material, the amount required to maintain the current rate is not sustainable as non-recycling practices also continue.

The carbon footprint

A study from Exeter University found sending one card produces around 140 grams of carbon dioxide. Going back to our personal input, let’s multiply 140 grams by the 22 cards we’ll (on average) purchase per year.

  • 140 grams x 22 = 3.08 kg

According to Just Energy, the “ideal” carbon footprint sits between 2720-7255 kg per year. So, what seems a small amount at first per person intensifies when you include everyone into the mix.

Yes, every billion cards we post costs mother nature 140 million tonnes of carbon.

The environmental impact of an eCard

Granted, some people may decide to print their eCards. Nevertheless, this only represents a small minority of people. Secondly, the carbon footprint of eCards does exist. Despite not being delivered on our roads, the electricity required still has an impact.

Due to the energy required from electricity, emails with large attachments can produce up to 54g of CO2. But as we’ve learnt, this is significantly lower than traditional greeting cards without the waste they can potentially produce.

Round 3: Further things to consider

After cost and sustainability, it then comes down to convenience. While physical cards have a tradition on their side, they require more physical effort. Sometimes, all it takes is a mistake in the post or a mail strike to prevent your card from reaching its destination.

eCards, on the other hand, for all their other benefits, also have a guarantee of being delivered precisely went they’re intended. Factor this with the customisable and personalised features available, and it’s a no-brainer.

Save money. Send eCards.

As we’ve demonstrated with this blog, eCards offer an eco-friendly, cost-saving, and convenient choice compared to traditional greeting cards. Not only this, but eCards offer more customisable and personalised features with reliable delivery.

At Textcards, we deliver eCards via text or email and offer many cool and fun designs to suit all demographics. Simply choose your design, customise your card and select the precise time and date and we’ll take care of the rest. You can even include an e-voucher too for extra brownie points!

So, what are you waiting for? Visit our shop today for a more sustainable, cheaper, and reliable choice of gift cards.