Most of us have sent and received many greeting cards in our lives. The challenge always seems to be in finding just the right card to fit the personality of the person giving the card, as well as the one receiving it. For this dilemma, recordable cards are an ideal solution. These are greeting cards with an embedded computer chip which records about 10 seconds of the sender’s voice. The card plays the recording, followed by a short musical selection, every time it is opened.
Recordable cards were first offered in large numbers in 2008, just before Mother’s Day. It is estimated that Americans send 155 million greeting cards at Mother’s Day, making it a good time for greeting card manufacturers to introduce a new product. The first recordable cards were offered at Hallmark Gold Crown® stores, in 15 different designs, and the cards retailed for $5.99 US Dollars (USD). The message can be re-recorded as many times as the sender desires, and the card’s battery has enough power to play back the message 220 times.
Since they were first introduced on the market, several companies have started making recordable greeting cards, and offering a wider variety of designs. Some offer even more opportunities for personalization, with color options and a place to insert a photo on the front cover. Because the computer chip in the back of the card is somewhat fragile, some companies will include optional bubble wrap to protect the card if it will be shipped.
Research by greeting card companies has shown a high level of interest in recordable cards from parents. They speculate that recordable cards resonate so well with parents due to the emotional connection that parents can make when they can hear their child’s voice even when he or she is far away. This type of phenomenon has made recordable greeting cards, as well as other cards that play sound, as popular as any line of greeting cards. However, traditional paper-and-ink cards still have a place, in part because of the relatively high cost of recordable cards. In other words, people will only pay so much for a greeting card, no matter how many features it has.
Notwithstanding the cost of recordable cards, they have been beneficial to the greeting card business. As e-mails and e-cards became preferred to their mailed counterparts, the card business saw flattening profits until the release of recordable cards and other cards with sound. They have been traced to an increase in revenues of several percentage points at the card companies. But, traditional cards remain the principal profit center for greeting card companies, which are trying to keep them relevant in a modern world.