In 1856, German immigrant Louis Prang opens a small lithographic business near Boston and America’s greeting card industry begins. By 1866, Prang perfected the color lithographic process. In 1875, Prag introduces a complete line of Christmas cards in America. American Greetings started as a one-horse-cart operation in 1906 in Cleveland, Ohio. American Greeting has led the way with the creation and manufacturer of innovative social expression products including cards, gift warp, invitations, envelopes becoming one of the largest companies in the industry worldwide. American Greetings annual revenue is approximately $1.6 Billion with 27,500 employees. In 1910, Hallmark began with a teenager from Nebraska with a little more than a dream. Today, Hallmark Card’s revenue is $5 Billon in 2022 with 30,000 employees.
The estimated revenue generated by greeting card publishers in the United States from 2007-2021 $2.93 Billion per statista. The Greeting Card market is estimated to be worth US$ 7508.8 million in 2022 and is forecast to a readjusted size of US$ 6530.4 million with a CAGR of -2.3% with the key players including American Greeting and Hallmark who hold 85% market share.
As we look at the greeting card industry, the Wisconsin Paper Industry was a major supplier of paper for the Greeting Card Industry. The Wisconsin, Ohio, Illinois, and Minnesota Printing Industry were major suppliers to the Greeting Card industry employing thousands with Billions in Annual Revenue. After the World Trade Organization approved China’s entry in 2001 as a member, we witnessed the movement of the production of greeting cards to China. Over 20 years, the American Printing companies have become minor players in the production of Greeting Cards and all the supporting products associated with it. Wisconsin was once a major supplier of envelopes, and we are down to one major envelope manufacturer based in Wisconsin.
The Wisconsin Commercial Printing Industry is one of the largest in the United States. Our industry and other great lakes printing companies have made major investments in equipment and technology to be able to supply the Greeting Card industry with the product instead of sending it overseas to China and Asia. With the current geopolitical environment, the Greeting Card industry is in jeopardy and is at the mercy of China suppliers. They should recognize the importance of Manufacturing their product in the United States or face the financial consequences.