Father’s Day – celebrating the UK’s Dads!

Jun 15, 2021 | History

Father's Day

Father’s Day is celebrated around the world on the third Sunday in June, the day when Dad’s are treated!

In the UK we spent £46m on Father’s Day cards in 2019, an increase of over 7% on 2018, sending nearly 30 million cards to our Dad’s on their special day.

Father’s Day 2019
sales by volume compared to Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day

Celebrating our Dad’s

The origin of the British Mother’s Day can be traced back to the 17th century, however the roots of Father’s Day go back to early 20th century America: In 1910 a Washington woman, Mrs JB Dodd, asked for a sermon on the value of fathers, her own having raised six children after the death of their mother. Shortly afterwards her wish for a permanent date to be set aside became reality when President Woodrow Wilson designated the third Sunday in June as Father’s Day. Now millions of Dad’s across the world also get a card and a lie in on that day too.

Early greeting cards to Father’s were often either very serious or jokey. In recent years, as our Father’s have become more involved day to day family life, a wider variety of designs has become available.

British Tradition of Greeting Card Sending

Greeting cards have played an increasing important part in British communication since the first Christmas card was sent in 1843 by Sir Henry Cole. Card sending in the UK increased dramatically in the early 20th century, with cards playing a particularly important role in communication during the two world wars.

Father’s Day cards grew in popularity following the post-war increase in greeting card sending in the UK. Cards increasingly became the chosen way to mark special occasions, express sympathy and just say Thinking of You. Scientific research undertaken in 2017 by Royal Mail demonstrated the impact of receiving a greeting card. Greeting cards are precious links to loved ones that are often kept for many years as reminders of relationships at any period in time, as one Dad demonstrated sharing a card he’d kept from his now-grown-up son.

Father’s Day is now an established calendar event where we annually remember and celebrate our Dad’s. The Greeting Card Association provides free down-loadable toolkit for retailers to use remind everyone to buy their cards!

GCA Father’s Day retailer signage for 2021

2021 Father’s Day Cards

This fun 2021 Royal Mail film reminds us how important our Dad’s are:

Fascinating Father’s Day Facts

  • In 2019 we sent our Dad’s 26.9 million cards in the UK, at an average price of £1.71*
  • The value of the UK Father’s Day card market is £46 million, an increase of 7.4% on 2018.*
  • We spent £1.7 billion on greeting cards in 2019, according to the Greeting Card Association’s annual report*.
  • Sales of cards for Father’s Day, along with Valentine’s day, Easter and Mother’s Day account for just 11% of the total greeting card market. 78% of card sales are ‘everyday’, sent for birthdays and other occasions throughout the year*.
  • Greeting cards are a world-leading British Creative industry; we send more cards per capita than any other nation, and lead the world in innovative and design, exporting our cards all over the world.
  • Cards are a good tangible way of keeping in touch, and mean more than a social media message which are sent all the time.
  • 18-34 year olds sending more cards than a generation ago. People are on social media all the time, this is being seen in US too – 44m more cards between 2017 and 2018, according to the US Postal Service, and this is due to Millennial’s’
  • Increase in ‘all occasion’ cards, sending cards to people just to say hello, share a joke, image provoking a memory, express how you feel, thinking of you.
  • Over 90% of greeting cards are bought in a bricks and mortar store.

*Source: Greeting Card Association Annual Market Report

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