Over two in five Americans are planning to use holiday cards to connect with loved ones this holiday season

A new Ipsos poll on behalf of Shutterfly finds that a majority of Americans are interested in receiving traditional holiday cards

The author(s)

  • Mallory Newall Vice President, US, Public Affairs
  • Adam Wright Senior Project Manager
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Washington, DC, September 28, 2021 

A new Shutterfly poll, conducted by Ipsos, finds that two in five Americans plan on sending out holiday cards or give personalized mementos and gifts to connect with family and friends this holiday season, a significant increase from this time last year. More this year also indicate plans to give personalized gifts and mementos to family and friends. Among those who have purchased personalized gifts in the past, the most popular reason was to show family or friends that they care or because they think a personalized present carries more meaning than a typical gift. Americans’ predictions of their post-pandemic shopping habits have changed from October 2020, with the number of people saying they will shop online more post-pandemic decreasing significantly.  

Detailed Findings

1. Compared to last year, more Americans now report plans to send out holiday cards or give personalized gifts this holiday season.

  • Two in five Americans plan on sending out holiday cards or give personalized mementos and gifts to connect with family and friends this holiday season (44% for both), both increasing significantly from October 2020 (34% and 21%, respectively).
  • Women are more likely to send out holiday cards (47%) and give personalized gifts and mementos (49%) than men (42% and 39%, respectively).
  • Among those planning to send out cards this year, traditional holiday messages are by far the most popular type (63%). Younger age groups show more interest in other card types such as photo cards (38% for 18-34 year olds vs. 34% for 35-54 year olds and 6% of 55-70 year olds) and personalized cards (37% of 18-34 year olds vs. 16% of 35-54 year olds and 19% of 55-70 year olds).
  • Even though the majority plan to send traditional messages, interest in receiving other types of holiday cards is high. While just over half still say they would like to receive a traditional card (51%), roughly two in five are interested in humorous cards (44%), photo cards (41%), and personalized cards (38%).
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2. The most common type of gift Americans plan to purchase this year is a gift card (57%), followed by traditional holiday gifts (43%), money (34%) and a personalized or customized gift (33%).

  • Since March 2021, there has been no significant change in reported purchases of personalized gifts (22% March 2021, 23% September 2021), or of photos and custom prints (23% March 2021, 20% September 2021).
  • Among those who have purchased personalized gifts, the most popular reason was to show family or friends that they care by giving customized gifts (52%), or because they think a personalized present carries more meaning than a typical gift (44%).
  • The largest shares of Americans plan to start their holiday shopping between early fall through October (15%), end of November (Black Friday) to early December (17%), or have already started (16%).
  • When it comes to how Americans are shopping for gifts, over half say they are more likely to shop online than in person (58%) and are planning to spend the same amount on holiday gifts this year as they did last holiday season (67%).

 3. Americans’ predictions of their post-pandemic shopping habits have changed slightly from last year. More now anticipate their habits not changing.

  • Currently, 53% expect that their post-pandemic shopping habits will remain the same, up from 43% last year. At the same time, fewer anticipate shopping online more post-pandemic (32% in September 2021, 41% in October 2020).
  • Notably, a majority say it is extremely or very likely that they will shop online for the holiday season, perhaps underscoring why fewer anticipate habits to change in the future.
  • When shopping online, free shipping (64%) is the number one aspect people expect during their shopping experience, followed by competitive pricing (56%).

About the Study 

These are the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted on behalf of Shutterfly between September 13-15, 2021. For this survey, a sample of 1,005 adults ages 18 to 70 from the continental U.S., Alaska, and Hawaii was interviewed online in English. This poll is trended against previous Shutterfly polls, also conducted by Ipsos, between October 8-9, 2020, with a sample of 1,005 U.S. adults, and March 18-23, 2021, with a sample of 1,000 U.S. adults. 

The sample was randomly drawn from Ipsos’ online panel, partner online panel sources, and “river” sampling and does not rely on a population frame in the traditional sense. Ipsos uses fixed sample targets, unique to each study, in drawing a sample. After a sample has been obtained from the Ipsos panel, Ipsos calibrates respondent characteristics to be representative of the U.S. Population using standard procedures such as raking-ratio adjustments. The source of these population targets is U.S. Census 2018 American Community Survey data. The sample drawn for this study reflects fixed sample targets on demographics. Posthoc weights were made to the population characteristics on gender, age, race/ethnicity, region, and education. 

Statistical margins of error are not applicable to online non-probability polls. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error and measurement error. Where figures do not sum to 100, this is due to the effects of rounding. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll has a credibility interval of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points for all respondents. Ipsos calculates a design effect (DEFF) for each study based on the variation of the weights, following the formula of Kish (1965). This study had a credibility interval adjusted for design effect of the following (n=1,005, DEFF=1.5, adjusted Confidence Interval=+/-5.0 percentage points).

The polls fielded from October 8-9, 2020 and March 18-23, 2021, have a credibility interval of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

For more information on this news release, please contact:

Mallory Newall 
Vice President, US   
Public Affairs   
+1 202 420-2014   
[email protected] 

About Ipsos 

Ipsos is the world’s third largest Insights and Analytics company, present in 90 markets and employing more than 18,000 people.

Our passionately curious research professionals, analysts and scientists have built unique multi-specialist capabilities that provide true understanding and powerful insights into the actions, opinions and motivations of citizens, consumers, patients, customers or employees. We serve more than 5000 clients across the world with 75 business solutions.

Founded in France in 1975, Ipsos is listed on the Euronext Paris since July 1st, 1999. The company is part of the SBF 120 and the Mid-60 index and is eligible for the Deferred Settlement Service (SRD).

ISIN code FR0000073298, Reuters ISOS.PA, Bloomberg IPS:FP www.ipsos.com

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The author(s)

  • Mallory Newall Vice President, US, Public Affairs
  • Adam Wright Senior Project Manager

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