KANSAS CITY, Mo. (Dec. 16, 2021) – Hallmark Cards, Inc., the company known for inspiring human connection and emotional expression, today launched its first-ever Year in Expression video to capture and celebrate the trajectory of America’s emotional journey in 2021.
The company tracked trends in sentiment based on searches, purchases and uses of Hallmark products, and discovered that compared to last year, 2021 has been a year filled with hope and promise.
“As each year comes to a close, most of us can’t resist looking back on and re-living the spectrum of moments and emotions that have filled our year and fulfilled our hearts,” said Lindsey Roy, Hallmark’s chief marketing officer. “In 2020, Americans shared in the difficult experience of lock-downs and social distancing. Not surprisingly, we sought meaningful connections with our loved ones through sincere and heartfelt cards that were a little more serious in tone. This year, we saw a definite shift to expressions of romance, playfulness and sweetness.”
The Year of Love and Romance: it appears that distance does make the heart grow fonder. Coming off a year in which distance between loved ones was the defining theme for so many, Americans said goodbye to lockdowns and hello to date nights and reunions with family and friends. Love and romance were the strongest themes throughout the first quarter of 2021, and unlike in 2020, they remained steady throughout the year.
The trend has three main drivers:
- Weddings and engagements came back with a vengeance in 20211 after the heartbreak of empty altars during the height of the pandemic. This year, America’s couples were determined to move forward with their plans, tie the knot, and commit to celebrating a life of love together. As Americans turned to Hallmark to share their celebratory wishes, ecommerce sales of wedding and engagement cards grew 19% in the first ten months of 2021 compared to the same period in 2020.
- Reunions: A return to travel enabled us to re-experience first-hand the love of coming together with family and dear friends and we could finally embrace our parents, grandparents, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins and BFFs in real life.
- It Ain’t Over Yet: Hallmark saw significant uptick in romance during the month of September that has continued through the end of the year – with Americans sending twice as many cards with a romantic tone in October and November of this year compared to last year. This might be explained by single Americans pairing up for “cuffing season” – or the desire to hunker down for the winter months with someone by our side.
Sweeter and More Playful
Call it the Ted Lasso effect – as the popular TV show debuted its second season this year, expressions of playfulness were three times higher in 2021 than in 2020. The edginess, snark humor and more serious tones that defined 2020 were down 57 percent as they took a backseat to sentiment and caring, and with Americans resuming a more normal life in the spring and summer of 2021, we shared whimsical, nostalgic cards with lighthearted and buoyant messages.
Less Is More
After a 2020 filled with long video calls and huge text chains, Americans looked for ways to express their feelings with brevity. Sales of cards tagged as ‘short & simple’ or ‘simply stated’ were up 82 percent in January – November 2021 compared to the same time period last year, especially in the summer months as we chose to get outside and spend time reconnecting with friends and family in natural settings. Popular National Parks like Yellowstone saw record visitor numbers in 20212, as Americans took to outdoor recreational activities and escaped to rural destinations to fulfill their wanderlust3.
Tis the Season to be Thoughtful and Sincere
As we approach year’s end, the defining emotion in America is thoughtfulness, as we reflect on what we are most grateful for – often the simple things in life – like love for one another, the importance of family and friends, and gratitude for the moments of togetherness that 2021 has delivered. Thoughtful cards rose in popularity in September and have continued to gather momentum through the end of the year, with sales of thoughtful & nice cards up 51 percent in November 2021 compared to November 2020, as Americans showed sincerity towards one another after two years of challenging events.
And with the holiday season well under way, Americans are building on this sentiment. As we look back on the current year, with an eye toward the one that is about to unfold, our expressions of love are punctuated by a noticeable and underlying sincerity.
It’s A Wrap!
Hallmark’s Year In Expression can be viewed by anyone who wants to see how Americans loved, played, show care for others and lived their lives in technicolor throughout 2021. Before we officially call this year a wrap, Hallmark invites Americans to add their own stories and sentiments from 2021 in the comments section of the video.
About Hallmark’s Year in Expression
Hallmark’s Year in Expression is based on an analysis of Hallmark.com ecommerce data from 2020 and 2021, comparing how sales of products conveying certain sentiments and pertaining to specific seasons and occasions differed from average and year-over-year.
SOURCE Hallmark Cards, Inc.
Hallmark Cards, Inc.
For more than 100 years, family-owned Hallmark Cards, Inc. has been dedicated to creating a more emotionally connected world. Headquartered in Kansas City, Missouri and employing more than 20,000 worldwide, the approximately $3.8 billion company operates a diversified portfolio of businesses. The Hallmark Global business sells greeting cards, gift wrap and related products in more than 30 languages with distribution in nearly 100 countries and 100,000 rooftops worldwide, including a network of company-owned and independently-owned Hallmark Gold Crown stores in five countries. Crayola® offers a wide range of art materials and creative play toys designed to spark children’s creativity around the globe. Hallmark Media operates three linear cable channels, Hallmark Channel, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, and Hallmark Drama, and Hallmark Movies Now, a subscription video on-demand streaming service. The company also features Hallmark Publishing, a leading publisher of uplifting eBooks, audiobooks, and print editions. Crown Center is a real estate development company that manages the 85-acre hotel, office, entertainment and residential campus surrounding Hallmark’s headquarters. For more information, visit Hallmark.com. Connect on Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest, and Twitter.