Is the Era of the Business Card Over?
A search for "business cards" on Google yields 143 million results, with sites like Zazzle and MOO joining the Netherlands giant. In addition to those online offerings, trade printers like 4over Inc. and BCT still find success in the business card market.
Promotional products businesses also have a large stake in the continued success of the product. Navitor, the North Mankato, Minnesota-based trade printer and supplier, explained that a decrease in business card sales does not equal a deceased market.
"Business cards are in decline, but the need for personalized business identity solutions is not," said Sandy Bartels, product manager for Navitor. "So while the current trend may reflect a decline, this is more directly correlated to the current economic conditions then a long-term reduction in the need for business cards."
Bartels pointed to the modern emphasis on personalization and self-branding, evident in the social media spheres, as strong signs that business cards are more important than ever as extensions of an image. Recent declines, she said, result from people walking away from mass-produced, templated designs.
"So, if overall consumption of business cards is down, it reflects a move to increasing importance of quality and personalization and a move away from cheap, stock image commoditization of cards we have seen in recent years," she said.
Beyond the market for traditional paper stock cards, distributors often find success with the alternative takes on the item. Magnetic cards, plastic cards, calendar cards and lithographic cards are all popular promotions that supplement the traditional print product.
"Paper business cards may be a dwindling business but our business card magnets offer much more than their more traditional counterparts," said Chuck Smith, marketer for Top 50 supplier Gill Studios, located in Lenexa, Kan. He explained that the magnetic cards have remained popular because they stand out from paper counterparts while still fulfilling the same purpose.