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

Feb 21, 2023 | Marketing Support, 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 over £44m on Father’s Day cards in 2021, sending 21 million cards to our Dad’s on their special day, according to the Greeting Card Association’s 2022 Annual Market Report*, with 87% of consumers saying that they plan to send the same or more Father’s Day cards in the future according to the Greeting Card Association Consumer Survey Report** conducted in the summer of 2021.

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

Father’s Day Cards by GCA Members

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

Fascinating Father’s Day Facts

  • In 2021 we sent our Dad’s over 21 million cards in the UK, at an average price of £2.07*
  • The UK population are a nation of cards senders – sending more cards per capita than any other nation.
  • The UK greeting card market bounced back in 2021 after the disruption to retail sales due COVID19 lockdowns. Both volume and value were up 11% compared to 2020*.
  • We spent £1.5 billion on single greeting cards in 2021* [NB: This figure excludes packs and boxes of cards]
  • Over three quarters of these sales [79%] are for everyday cards, sent for birthdays and other occasions throughout the year*.
  • Sales for Valentine’s Day, Mother’s day, Easter and Father’s Day account for just 11% by value of the total single card market, together totalling £167m, an increase of 12% on 2020*.
  • 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.

*Source: The Greeting Card Association Annual Market Report which covers UK greeting card sales for single greeting cards in 2021 compared to 2020. The report shows a strong ‘bounce back’ from 2020 when retail sales were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and closure of many non-essential retailers for long periods..

** Source: Greeting Card Association Consumer Survey Report conducted in summer 2021. This includes information on changes in purchasing during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.

Retailers Toolkit

For retailers, we put together a Fathers Day Toolkit to help with marketing your Fathers Day cards.

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