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Lancashire Times
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7:16 AM 20th February 2021
business

Saturday Essay: The Untapped Potential Of The e-Greeting Market

Dominic McGonigal, Co-Founder and Chair of JiveBird looks at the untapped potential of the eGreeting market.


COVID-19 has been a rude awakening for the greeting sector and investors are seizing on it by backing digital offerings.

But what is surprising about the greeting and gift market is that it is so late to digitise. Moonpig brought partial digitisation and has reaped the rewards. Sales last year rocketed, and their IPO created the first eGreeting unicorn – although we predict it won’t be the last – and sent the city into a frenzy with an initial valuation of £1.2 billion. Investors saw the opportunity and pushed the share price up further.

On the same day, fully digital eGreeting business JiveBird hit 90% of the minimum fundraising investment target within 24 hours of opening. Opportunity in the market is being recognised and there truly is a solid market waiting to be digitised.

We also began to see a higher demand from the consumer in 2020. With store closures across the country and access to the high-street permitted to essential shops only, consumers were and still are looking for a convenient, yet thoughtful way to keep in touch with their loved ones that goes above and beyond a quick text message. Whether it be a birthday card, Christmas card or simply a note to let someone know you’re thinking of them, finding and sending a card online became the perfect solution to combat card shop closures and spending excess time in a supermarket when needing to purchase essentials.

It is therefore perhaps no surprise that the figures of online card sales rose astronomically last year.

According to a report from Paperless Post, in the United States, craft website Etsy recorded a 23% increase in searches for Christmas / holiday cards in the last three months of 2020 in comparison to the year prior. Here in the UK, leading player in the greetings and eGreetings industry, Moonpig, saw profits soar.

Downloads of the app tripled in the first three months of lockdown and Moonpig recorded a record £156m in sales in the first six months, more than the entire year of 2019.

In what is an incredibly healthy market, we’re seeing investors looking to take a slice of the eGreetings pie and there is a rejuvenated enthusiasm for an offering such as ours at JiveBird.

It is these successes, such as that spearheaded by the likes of Moonpig, that proves there is vast potential for the eGreetings market. It is a service which is steadily becoming more effortless for millions in the UK, if not worldwide. However, amidst such great successes, the eGreetings market still only equates to approximately a 10% share of the industry.

I predict this percentage will grow, as the continued triumphs that are being recognised create an abundance of opportunity and optimism for the eGreeting market.

Yes, personalised cards are becoming more common, but this personalisation can be bolstered even further with an eGreeting and current digital offerings don’t all have the desired personal touch that is quite clearly missing to make the market skyrocket.

An eGreeting can deliver much more than a traditional, physical card. With an ever-growing range of technological innovations in the market, consumers can now not only send just the eGreeting or eCard, but they can include add-ons of moving images, personalised voice or video messages, as well as songs and even the option of augmented reality. All of this takes an eGreeting to the next level and continues to help fuel demand for such an offering.

It is these additional benefits and features that are giving the eGreetings market an edge over its competitors. Of course, there will always be competition, it would be foolish to think otherwise. With the high-street eventually reopening and supermarkets adding to their greetings and gifting offering, competition only makes everyone strive for more and strive for something better.

Photo by Siora Photography on Unsplash
Photo by Siora Photography on Unsplash
However, they can’t beat the convenience of creating and sending a customised eCard or eGreeting, from the comfort of your own home, that is then delivered digitally and so removing the need to worry about postage and delivery.

This convenience has been heightened by the pandemic and lockdown situation we all find ourselves in. COVID-19 has without a doubt been a difficult and unforgettable time for everyone, however the eGreeting and eGifts market has covered all bases and made the best out of a bad situation.

By thinking about the customer and their current desires and requirements, the eGreeting market has been able to ensure that the consumer experience is at the core of the market and is providing a service that is needed.
This is why it is no coincidence that interest in the eGreeting market is peaking during lockdown 3.0. With occasions like Valentine’s day having just passed and Mother’s Day and Easter on the horizon and uncertainty over when current pandemic restrictions will be lifted, there has never been a better time for the eGreetings market to thrive.

There is a potential in lockdown, as far as a business standpoint, to help consumers show messages of care to their loved ones without having to worry about even leaving the sofa - Staying at home, showing your appreciation to those you hold closest and making the most out of everyday life.

We know through continued research, that consumers want something fun and they want something personal. It is this reason why we wanted to launch JiveBird. To help consumers deliver something that is 100% personal and is essentially a virtual hug in a time when it means the most. JiveBird is flying high when it comes to delivering a smile and spreading happiness at the tap of a button.

We aim to revolutionise the industry. JiveBird is a 100% digital eGreeting and eGifting experience platform and our consumers can send a personally recorded voice message linked to a well-known and famous song from a constantly updated library of 35,000 fully licenced song tracks, plus an eCard or PhotoCard using a selfie or image from their own device library.

We think there is something to be said for how emotive a song can be. By adding this personalisation to an eGreeting, you can instantly evoke memories of a first dance or a funny, special moment shared together – something a traditional card cannot achieve.

Consumers can then also include a digital eGift voucher which can be used in conjunction with a wealth of top UK retailers such as The Body Shop, National Trust, ASDA and more. Working in collaboration with these top retailers and brands, together we are able to put smiles on people’s faces at times of unease and unrest.

Delivery of your specially tailored greeting will then be sent to your recipient via email, phone and text, either instantly or on a scheduled date, meaning you can ensure you will never miss a celebration or special occasion again.

All of this can be down via our app which is available to download on iOS and Android.

We are also not limited geographically, thanks to being 100% digital there is no physical limitation. Therefore, no matter where your loved one, friend or family member might be in the world, you can still show that you care.

This is a level of accessibility that has been tapped into which means that the eGreetings market boasts global potential and for investors, there are windows of opportunity to fly through. At JiveBird, we are now seeking top-up funding of a further £150k with EIS clearance. With JiveBird being the first fully digital and personal eGreeting package, early investors have the prospect of a high return. Our funding partner Crowd for Angels has commented that this is the result of months of work to prepare for the digital eGreeting market.

The eGreetings market is booming. It’s an ever-growing part of the industry and it is most definitely an exciting time for the industry and JiveBird – The eGreetings market has all the potential to make waves and turn the greetings and gifting industry on its head. Digital has hit the greeting business and it’s here to stay.

Dominic McGonigal
Dominic McGonigal
Dominic McGonigal is Co-Founder of JiveBird, the first fully digital and truly personal eGreeting offering, www.crowdforangels.com/JiveBird
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