People working with computers and paper to process survey results

Results of the 1st Annual Card Experience Survey

Buying a card for your significant other should be a fantastic experience.

At CardHero, our goal is to build that experience, and an essential part of crafting it is understanding how people obtain cards now, what they enjoy about the current process, and what they don't.

To that end, in August of 2021, CardHero conducted the 1st Annual Card Experience Survey to understand in detail how Americans buy birthday, anniversary, Valentine's cards, and more. In this article, we'll be looking at a few of the topline results.

Do people still buy cards for their significant other?

Yes! When asked, "For which of the following occasions have you bought a card for your significant other in the last three years?" A whopping 95.3% of people ages 25-54 in a long-term relationship said they had bought a card for at least one type of occasion. Birthday was the most common occasion at 80% of those who purchase cards, followed by anniversary at 78%, and Valentine's at 70%. Amongst married people ages 25-54, 81% said they bought their significant other an anniversary card.

Not only are people buying a card for their partner, but they also do it regularly. For example, 72% of married Americans said they buy two or more cards per year for their spouse, and 54% said three or more.

So who isn't buying cards? Looking across age groups, the youngest and oldest reported the lowest level of card purchasing. 10% of Americans over 55 said they don't buy any cards for their significant other. Similarly, 10.7% of 18 to 24-year-olds reported the same. That number drops to 9% of 25 to 34-year-olds and a minuscule 4% of 35 to 44-year-olds.

Have you ever forgotten to get a card for your significant other?

Homer sliding into the bushes

46.7% of married people 25-44 years old answered "yes" when asked, "have you ever forgotten to get a card for your significant other that you were expecting to buy or that they were expecting to receive?" That means about one out of every two people has forgotten a card! Obviously, I would never, ever do that. It must be super embarrassing.

Before you go telling your partner that everyone forgets cards sometimes and that they shouldn't make such a big deal out of that one time you slipped up, one other data point might be interesting to you. Could forgetting to buy your partner a card they were expecting indicate severe problems for your relationship? Well, of divorced people 25-44 years old, an enormous 64.3% said they had forgotten a card in their last relationship! Of course, correlation is not causation and all that, but still -- probably best to get that card. Maybe set a reminder? Or, you know, subscribe to some kind of service that makes this easy?

Do people wish their partner got them more or fewer cards than they do currently?

37.6% of married people ages 25-54 years old said they would prefer to receive more cards from their significant other than they do currently, and only 7.8% said they would like fewer. However, 39% said they would prefer the same number they now get, and 15% don't care one way or the other (at least they're honest!).

Perhaps contrary to common wisdom, the difference is even starker looking at just men: 43% of married men ages 25-54 years old said they would prefer to receive more cards from their partner, and only 8% said they wish they'd receive fewer! So if your husband looked a little upset when you didn't get him an anniversary card or Valentine's card, perhaps now you know why.

Do people care about whether their partner buys them a card?

For most people, yes, they genuinely do care. When asked, "how important is it to you that your significant other buy you a card on certain occasions?" 39% of married Americans aged 25-54 said it was "7 - Extremely important", and 68% answered 5-7 on that 7-point scale. On the other hand, about 10% said it was "1 - Not at all important". Hopefully, you know which type of person your spouse is!

If you do buy your spouse a card, check out CardHero’s Ultimate Guide to Writing Your Wife’s Birthday, Anniversary, or Valentine’s card. Even if you're looking for a card for your husband, there are some great suggestions on what to write and how to get started.

What does this all mean?

A common narrative is that card giving is no longer popular. In an era of instant messaging, texting, and video calling, giving someone a birthday, anniversary, or Valentine's card may seem old-fashioned to some. However, the Annual Card Experience Survey results show that not only is buying cards for your partner on special occasions still frequent but that the majority of recipients find it to be a meaningful act.

If you haven't been giving a card to your significant other, consider whether it might be important to them. Keep in mind that you don't even have to buy your partner a card. You could write out a nice note, draw something, or get creative with it. Whatever you do, make sure that you mark that special day if it is noteworthy to them.

Survey methodology

The Annual Card Experience Survey is a survey of 1000 respondents. The survey was conducted on mobile devices, using a methodology known as Random Device Engagement. You can learn more about Random Device Engagement. Random Device Engagement is a successor to Random Digital Dialing.

Historically Random Digital Dialing (or RDD) was a successful way of getting a well-distributed sampling of respondents for surveys. This is because nearly every American had a landline phone, and many were willing to respond to calls from researchers. However, people have increasingly moved from landline phones to mobile devices over the last few decades and stopped answering voice-based telephone surveys. As this happened, RDD has become less and less reliable in getting a well-distributed sample.

The survey did not provide a monetary reward or use professional poll respondents. Results were weighted by gender and age using state-level census data.