Businesses that sent Christmas cards to their customers last year have been reaping the rewards, new research revealed today.
The survey, conducted on behalf of Royal Mail by TNS, shows that last Christmas 48 per cent of UK consumers received at least one card from a company such as a high street store or local restaurant.
Almost two thirds of people (61 per cent) were prompted to make a purchase and over three quarters (80 per cent) of them spent up to £100 - an 11 per cent increase on 2007. This equates to a potential sales uplift of up to £1.054 billion and a return of investment (ROI) of £1:£100. Additionally, 13 per cent of people who received a card from a business spent more than £100 and seven per cent made a purchase in excess of £500.
Over half of recipients (55 per cent) displayed the card prominently at home amongst personal Christmas cards throughout the festive period prompting brand recall of almost a quarter (20 per cent). This contrasts with the 63 per cent of individuals that opened, but immediately deleted, seasonal greetings from organisations through email.
The study is unveiled as Royal Mail reminds UK businesses of the last posting dates for Christmas 2008 to ensure Christmas greetings arrive in plenty of time and do not leave customers and suppliers feeling neglected at this commercially valuable time of year.
The recommended last posting dates for Christmas 2008 are:
Saturday 20th December
Thursday 18th December
UK Special Delivery
Tuesday 23rd December
Western Europe Airmail
Friday 12th December
USA, Canada, Japan and Eastern Europe Airmail
Wednesday 10th December
Australia, New Zealand, South and Central America, Caribbean, Africa, Middle East, Asia and the Far East (excluding Japan) Airmail
Friday 5th December
The research also revealed:
· 15 per cent of consumers said receiving a Christmas card from an organisation made them feel valued and would boost their loyalty to that company – this rose to 26 per cent amongst the 16-24 age group
· 37 per of consumers believe that Christmas cards from organisations are a nice gesture with 55-64 year olds responding most positively (43 per cent)
· 34 per cent of 55-64 years olds made a purchase of over £100 after receiving a business Christmas card, 21 per cent more than the UK average
· Over 45s were found to be most likely to display a business Christmas card at home over the festive period with 69 per cent adding it to their personal card collection, 14 per cent higher than the UK average
· 63 per cent of consumer preferred to receive seasonal greetings through the post rather than via email
For organisations considering sending cards to its customer base this year, Royal Mail recommends a post date of Friday 12th of December to increase the longevity of the communication. Planning the campaign, including checking the accuracy of the name and address data within the database, should start in the first week of November.
Mark Thomson, Royal Mail Director, said, “Everyone likes to receive a Christmas card, irrespective of whether it’s from a family member, a friend or a supplier. On the business side, they send an important message that your custom is valued and our research shows that consumers respond well to this personal touch.”
He added: “A Christmas card is the preferred way of receiving a festive greeting. Sending a Christmas card helps businesses reconnect with customers that have lapsed and thank current ones for their continued custom, leading to increased loyalty and sales."
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