Competition for Valentine’s Day gifts and cards sales has intensified in recent years, as more and more stores are selling them, prompting innovations this year.
The Card Company is offering a bigger variety of Valentine’s Day cards this year. Fahim Fayyaz, the company’s DHA manager, said, “Every year, about 10 to 12 new designs were prepared for the day. But this year, we have over 200 new designs to choose from.” One of the new design includes a card with a hologram.
He said sales this year had been slow. However, he said, he was confident they would go up as the day approached, and would be very high on the day.
He said the 200 new varieties of cards had been designed using precision laser machines, a recently imported technology. These cards have been priced between Rs75 and Rs850.
He said their card and gift designers had attempted to avoid themes with teddy bears and chocolates this year. “This year we want customers to try carved wooden wall hangings, ceramic tiles, clocks, and frames especially designed for this day.”
Four designers, including the shop’s owner, Zahid Masood, have been working on these designs for the last four months. Masood said they had made a special variety of cards this Valentine’s Day because greeting card sales had been falling.
“In 2006 and in 2007, people of all ages bought cards. But in the last three years, fewer people are making Valentine’s Day purchases.”
He said that people were sick of the hype created about the day and that was why sales had declined. “It is as if people find it outdated now,” he said.
The Card Company sold about 500,000 cards on Valentine’s Day in 2011. Masood said he hoped to sell about 1.5 million this year thanks to the greater variety.
“Only gift shops and big departmental stores used to sell Valentine’s Day gifts and greeting cards.
Now, every neighbourhood grocery store and medical store has it.”
A manager of another gift shop in Gulberg said business this Valentine’s Day had been very slow so far. “It’s 60 per cent slower this year,” he said.
He said he had had customers who told him they would rather spend money on things that are worth using, than greeting cards.
“Flowers die out in a day. Mugs, photo frames and wall hangings are not flattering. People have better expectations,” he added.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 14th, 2012.