1 in 10 Brits send Christmas cards to pets: A map of Britain's Christmas card habits

Key points

  • New Royal Mail research unveils a comprehensive map of the UK’s Christmas card habits, including where and how we send them, who is on the typical Christmas card list, and the emotional resonance we place on them.
  • The 1st and the 10th December are the two days when the nation is most likely to send their Christmas cards (18% on both days). However almost 1 in 10 (7%) send them as early as November.
  • The average Briton sends 18 Christmas cards. Close friends, neighbours and parents are the most popular recipients on the nation’s list; however some more surprising additions include the family pet (6%), the pet of a friend or family member (5%), the local postie (4%) and even ex-partners (3%).
  • On average Bristolians send their Christmas cards the earliest in the country, and Belfast the latest. Edinburgh sends the most (on average 18), and Manchester the least (11).
    Plymouth keeps their cards on display the longest – 5% of people in this city keep them up for more than six months.
  • An atmospheric snow scene is the nation’s favourite Christmas card cover (59%). This is followed by robins (55%), snowmen (53%), reindeer (53%) and images of Father Christmas (52%).
  • On average, people keep their Christmas cards on display for 2-3 weeks. However 3% keep them up for more than six months.
  • UK adults most like to receive festive Christmas cards (61%), however traditional (55%) and funny (45%) are also popular.
  • Almost 1 in 6 people (14%) include a family ‘update newsletter’ in their annual cards. Almost 1 in 10 (8%) include a family photograph, and 9% pop in either a paw print from their pet, or a ‘crayon signature’ from their children.

New Royal Mail research reveals the who, what, how and why of the UK’s Christmas card sending habits.

When?

The 1st and 10th December are the two days of the year when Britons are most likely to send out their annual list, however almost 1 in 10 (7%) do this as early as mid to late November.

Where?

Plymouth residents are most likely to keep their cards on display the longest (on average up to a month).

Edinburgh sends the most Christmas cards in the country (on average 18) and Manchester the least (11).

Bristolians are the nation’s posting early birds starting as early as October, and Belfast generally leave it the latest, starting at mid-November.

Londoners (7%) are more likely to send a Christmas card to an ex-partner. Those in the South West (11%) are most likely to send a card to their hairdresser.

What?

The average UK adult sends 18 Christmas cards. Almost 1 in 10 people (9%) send between 46-100, and a further 1% claim to send more than 100 cards.

‘Festive’ cards are the nation’s favourite type of seasonal missive (61%). Our favourite Christmas card covers are as follows:

UK’s favourite Christmas card covers

  1. Snow scene (59%)
  2. Robins (55%)
  3. Reindeer (53%)
  4. Snowmen (53%)
  5. Father Christmas (52%)
  6. Snowflakes (51%)
  7. Nativity scenes (45%)
  8. Holly (41%)
  9. Christmas decorations (41%)
  10. Angels (39%)

Who?

Close friends (59%), neighbours (51%) and parents (mum and dad) (49%) are the most common recipients on a Briton’s Christmas card list; however some more surprising additions include the local postman or woman (4%), ex-partners (3%) and even the local dustbin man or woman (2%).

Additionally, almost 1 in 10 (9%) people send a card to their pet, or to the pet of a friend or family member.

Some other fascinating facts unearthed by the research include:

  • On average, 30% of UK keeps their Christmas cards on display for 2-3 weeks, but 3% claim to keep them on their mantelpiece for more than six months.
  • Most people purchase their Christmas cards from a shop (41%), however charity shops are also a popular source (34%). 5% of people hand make their cards, and only 2% expressed a preference for buying them online.
  • Almost 1 in 6 people (14%) include an ‘update newsletter’ from their family in their annual Christmas cards. Almost 1 in 10 (8%) include a family photograph, and 10% pop in either a paw print from their pet, or a ‘crayon signature’ from their children.

Mark Street, Head of Campaigns at Royal Mail commented: “Christmas cards are one of the defining items of the British festive season, and clearly hold a lot of emotional resonance. It’s fascinating to see modern card sending habits broken down in this much detail.” 

Festive wordsmiths are reminded to post their letters and cards with enough time to spare for Christmas. The last posting date for 1st Class stamps is Thursday 20th December 2018, and Tuesday 18th December for 2nd Class.

 

Ends

Note to Editors

 

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. 

Total sample size for national statistics was 2,071 adults, of which 1,873 celebrated Christmas. Fieldwork was undertaken between 20th - 21st November 2018.  The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults (aged 18+).

All figures for regional statistics, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc.  Total sample size was 1001 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 20th - 27th November 2018.  The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all city adults (aged 18+)

 

About Royal Mail plc

Royal Mail plc is the parent company of Royal Mail Group Limited, the leading provider of postal and delivery services in the UK and the UK’s designated universal postal service provider. UK Parcels, International and Letters (“UKPIL”) comprises the company’s UK and international parcels and letters delivery businesses operating under the “Royal Mail” and “Parcelforce Worldwide” brands. Through the Royal Mail Core Network, the company delivers a one-price-goes-anywhere service on a range of parcels and letters products. Royal Mail has the capability to deliver to more than 30 million addresses in the UK, six days a week (excluding UK public holidays). Parcelforce Worldwide operates a separate UK network which collects and delivers express parcels. Royal Mail also owns General Logistics Systems (GLS) which operates one of the largest ground-based, deferred parcel delivery networks in Europe.

Media contacts

 

Jessy Prestidge, Royal Mail press office

Email: press.office@royalmail.com

Tel: 020 7449 8246

 

 

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