Is the Era of the Business Card Over?
"When held, they have an instantly recognizable contrast in feel and weight. This makes it more likely to make it back to the home or office of it's recipient. Rather than being filed away in the back of a folder or the bottom of a drawer, our products are placed on the metal surfaces that surround them," he said.
Another sign the 2x3.5" cards aren't going anywhere is the cottage industry built around their continued use. Business card holders, carriers and rolodexes are popular for both business-to-business and retail operations, and almost all briefcases and padfolios are designed with business card slots—cards are so ingrained into the corporate world that the most emblematic business accessories include them by default in their design.
Even on the tech side, the alleged grim reaper of traditional business, a market for software based around business cards shows continues to grow. Applications like Business Card Reader for iPhone and CamCard for Android show that even among the e-commerce crowd, business cards are still an important factor. And the recent popularity of credit card-sized USB drives, which are perfect as promotional business cards, complements rather than competes with online alternatives.
As for the threat from the electronic competition, Bartels said there are actually signs that Generation Y is finding increased value in business cards. "While digital alternatives are on the rise, Navitor sees an important trend in even the most trend-forward areas of our economy continuing to not only use business cards in addition to newer innovative solutions, but an actual increased focus on truly customizing and personalizing cards and other identity solutions as truly representative of who they are," she said.
O'Brien agreed, and explained what many in marketing already know: you cannot replace the impact of physically giving something to a client.