Gifts Today magazine

Brits love the personal touch

Sainsbury’s report shows handwritten notes from loved ones are better than emails

New research released during National Stationery Week shows seven out of 10 of Brits would prefer to receive a hand-written card or letter – rising to a whopping 74 per cent of 16-24 year olds.

The report commissioned by Sainsbury’s Home shows that, ironically, the tech-savvy generation could be the ones to save the practice of penmanship, which fits in well with the NSW’s Writing Matters campaign aim.

The national survey of 2,000 people across the UK does show a significant decline in handwritten communications although, in contrast, the national supermarket chain has seen a 10 per cent year-on-year uplift in pen and pencil sales.

More than 4½ million pens and pencils were sold across Sainsbury's stores last year – if lined up end to end the line would stretch around 435 miles, the length of Great Britain.

The research found the average Brit last sent a handwritten card or letter 17 months ago, which increased to 20 months for the average 45-54 year old, and 11 per cent said they have not sent a handwritten card or letter in the past five years.

Busting the myth that the younger generation have moved on from writing by hand, 74 per cent of 16-24 year olds would prefer to receive a handwritten note from friends rather than a typed note.
And 68 per cent of all Brits prefer to receive a handwritten letter or card rather than a less personal email or e-card, showing nation is still in love with traditional penmanship.

However, a carefully-penned love letter appears to be the stuff of fantasy in the UK –12 per of men haven't sent a handwritten card or letter for over 11 years although 71 per cent of women would prefer to receive a handwritten note from their loved one rather than an email.

The Sainsbury’s report was released during the biggest-yet London Stationery Show, which ran across Tuesday and yesterday, April 25-26, at the Business Design Centre in Islington as part of National Stationery Week.

And organisers Ocean Media Group used the LSS to announce that they are expanding with their first Manchester Stationery Show on October 31-November 1 to give northern retailers and buyers the chance to find relevant products closer to home.

The launch was decided upon as London Stationery Show visitor data reveals a clear pattern of attracting a southern-biased audience – with just over 65 per cent of visitors travelling to the event from London and the South East.

This is reflected by national High Street data which shows a 60/40 split in stationery and gift retailers based south and north of the Midlands.

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