E-card is the rage

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E-card is the rage

E-cards and free call services of any available search engine have dislodged almost completely the traditional greeting card.

By Lily B. Libo-on

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Published: Thu 23 Dec 2010, 8:01 AM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 1:58 PM

People in the card business and several expats at several stationery shops and sections of big malls told Khaleej Timesthat only 25 per cent, most of whom are teenagers, still buy traditional greeting cards.

Lilibeth Resurrection, a Filipino working in Dubai, said she chats and sends e-cards as they are easier, cheaper and faster.

An Indian wife, Tanahi, said she prefers e-card because it is easy and reaches the person at once. “For 11 years I am in the UAE, I have never bought any traditional greeting card.”

A Filipino expatriate, Judith Dimpas, said she has never sent traditional greeting cards since arriving in the UAE in 1993. “I prefer to call as I can hear them and can exchange endearments and discuss issues at once.”

Sri Lankan Renu Shabandri said nowadays, search engines have free call services, which make communication with loved ones and greeting them on important days much easier and a lot cheaper. “No need to buy traditional cards, which are not only more expensive than free calls and e-cards but also take days to reach the person.”

Riyaz Koombeyil, storekeeper of a 32-year-old stationery shop in Rolla, Sharjah, said the shop used to sell 126 greeting cards daily. “Now, only between 20 and 30 cards are sold on a daily basis, the highest sales come during the yearly Valentine’s Day, Christmas and New Year. Only birthday and anniversary cards are fast moving in month to month sales.”

He said that since the opening of the shop five years ago, traditional greeting cards ranging from birthday, thank you, Christmas, New Year to Valentine’s and wedding cards were sold like hot cakes.

Mohammed Ali, who is a storekeeper for the decade-old Zamzam Stationery said these days his shop orders only 500 cards a month from China, India, and Pakistan.

“Before e-cards, we used to sell a thousand cards monthly. Now, the situation is really bad. The birthday and anniversary cards, which are our monthly fast moving among the cards, are now down from 500 cards monthly to 300 or sometimes less,” he said.

Faizal Thatlante, a salesman at a chain of department stores, said he orders cards once every two months as they are slow-moving since e-cards invaded the market. “I believe that the 75 per cent of our regular clients send e-cards as there have been few of them coming back at very long intervals. Mostly, they are teenagers and just come to buy during Eid, Christmas and New Year.”

He said that he is just displaying the occasion cards as other cards are no longer saleable. “I have also reduced our suppliers from three to two as we reduce our card stocks.” Ali said the top buyers of traditional greeting cards are Indians, Sri Lankans and Filipinos.

Indian couple, Sherin and Madona Lawrence, still buy the traditional greeting cards occasionally despite the fact that many are shifting to e-cards. “We still find the best messages in the traditional cards,” Sherin said.

Shenigas, 36, and wife Subisheni, 26, feel the same way and they keep buying what was traditional and popular years back.lily@khaleejtimes.com

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