Is the business card disappearing?

When was the last time someone gave you – or you handed someone – a business card?

That 2-by-3.5-inch staple of Corporate America, a symbol that the giver has achieved at least a modicum of success, has seen better days, according to a Los Angeles Times report.

The Times points out that fewer cards are being printed, which suggests fewer companies are supplying staffers with them.

Part of the disappearing act has to do with cost-cutting, since the cards are seen as an unnecessary  perk for many staffers. But another reason has to do with how tech-savvy staffers have become. To them, the business card serves little purpose when they can email or text contact information.

Business card sales have tumbled  in recent years, with revenue falling 13 percent to $211.1 million last year since 2006, the Times reported, citing figures from IBISWorld Inc.

The cards appear to be suffering the same fate of other printed products. The Times reports:

Analysts said printed business cards, like newspapers, books and magazines, are fast giving way to digital alternatives. Smartphones, tablets and social media are helping people connect more quickly and seamlessly than ever before.

37 comments Add your comment

TL

March 16th, 2012
3:12 pm

I was selling school yearbook ads (digital and print) and everyone was asking me for them.

rojer

March 16th, 2012
3:31 pm

Not really about giving contact information. You could never find a business card when you needed to call or email anyway. More about the gesture and subtle reminder at a later time of that interaction. Marketing tool. Still works.

Edex

March 16th, 2012
3:31 pm

This seems to be a story written to match a pre determined template. I am frequently given business cards and frequently ask for them.

Jeff

March 16th, 2012
3:35 pm

Really not understanding this article at all. Of course the revenue is down – large companies that provide biz cards have had to reduce pricing due to online ordering of cards for less. I do a LOT of networking events for the industry I am in, and we ALL pass out business cards.

Hmm...

March 16th, 2012
3:38 pm

Not sure what this is really about. In any given year I alone hand out 300+ cards to clients and receive as many back. Still a very useful tool.

Chuck

March 16th, 2012
3:38 pm

Some of you don’t live in a tech savvy world.

C

March 16th, 2012
3:49 pm

I am in the music industry. An industry with very tech savy folks involved in it. Business cards are still a must. Lame article.

David

March 16th, 2012
3:57 pm

Enter your comments here

All Bidness

March 16th, 2012
4:02 pm

Is the business card disappearing?

The answer: No

Cards are still going strong in the real business world .Maybe not so much in industries where employees hide behind computer screens all day and have little interaction with other professionals and/or clients.

srhazard

March 16th, 2012
4:03 pm

I use business cards often, and have a QR code as backup, in the event that I ever run out of cards. I back up the cards that I receive on my CardMunch app, so that I ‘have’ them with me. I don’t know if you don’t network enough, or just talk to people that are constantly without business cards.

Roadrunner

March 16th, 2012
4:07 pm

I have to agree with most here, for those in marketing, customer relations and/or support, etc. the business card is as popular as ever. In years past I’ve seen the entire IT department offered business cards whether they ever left the building or met with anyone outside the company. It makes sense that some people no longer get nor want something they will never use. For the rest of us, we’ll be using cards for the foreseeable future..

Egency

March 16th, 2012
4:13 pm

Egency.com believes that business cards are more important than ever. We have issued a press release in response to this article citing how savvy business people can gain a competitive edge with business cards.

http://www.prweb.com/releases/2012/3/prweb9293667.htm

sales guy

March 16th, 2012
4:17 pm

Yeah I go to conferences and sales meetings all the time and pass them out… of course after you begin emailing with people, then you don’t need them. Much easier to exchange cards after a conversation than spontaneously swap VCFs.

sales guy

March 16th, 2012
4:20 pm

Trivial data point – when I meet Asian colleagues in my own company they give me their card. Then of course you have to make a display of visually scouring their card… you can’t just pocket it. I think it’s even more engrained as a business custom in Asia despite how tech savvy they are over there.

whatevs

March 16th, 2012
4:21 pm

People with external facing jobs still need business cards. For internal jobs they are a waste of money. But I don’t think that is new. I’ve only had them at jobs where I might meet customers.

All Bidness

March 16th, 2012
4:26 pm

“Some of you don’t live in a tech savvy world”

I guess some of you don’t live in a world where you get the chance to interact with someone other than your computer

Nikki

March 16th, 2012
4:39 pm

I don’t use them or hand them out. In fact, our company (Fortune 500) switched to e-business cards. Just put my email and contact info in your phone and contact me that way and I’ll do the same.

domalir

March 16th, 2012
9:28 pm

business cards are a total waste of money–just use email and v-cards, instead of carrying around pieces of paper.

g

March 17th, 2012
2:06 am

i work in television where tech is our life and we all use business cards…

SUSAN

March 17th, 2012
7:04 am

i have both physical cards and a tech ‘card’. contxts lets me send a code and the recipient gets my ‘digits’ and i get their number.

george

March 17th, 2012
7:54 am

i guess places like facebook, google, ebay, amazon, apple, etc. don’t qualify as real businesses despite having incredible market capitalizations. the dozen or so system engineers, designers and architects i know (classmates of my nephew who did his undergrad work at mit and his grad work at stanford) don’t use cards because their jobs don’t involve going to chamber of commerce breakfasts looking for sales lead or trying to get referrals from fellow little league parents. i wish i had had some stock in one of those “unreal” businesses like microsoft in the early days so i could have retired in my mid-30s without ever having to wear a tie to work like my favorite cousin.

DomainEngines

March 17th, 2012
8:50 am

We have found that business cards are seldom utilized by our associates anymore. The thing is though, when you need one well, there just is no substitute.

Grasshopper

March 17th, 2012
9:25 am

People without business cards are not taken seriously in my business; they are poseurs or neophytes.

Sherry K

March 17th, 2012
10:47 am

I the sales world, I rarely see someone who pulls out their phone, on the spot to enter my information. Phone # for texting or my e-mail address for future contact. The process is too long. They take my card and enter on their time, if they choose. When an application that is fast and easy to use for a smart phone or I Pad, and is quick scan a “template card” that I could keep on hand, then we perhaps would see a larger decrease in business card usage.

works, baby

March 17th, 2012
5:23 pm

Enter your comments here

works, baby

March 17th, 2012
5:24 pm

when I go to a strip club, I always fold a dollar around my card, I’ve had more than one call from the young lady, which has resulted in more than one interesting evening!!

rod

March 17th, 2012
9:01 pm

stupid article. I call on over 400 accounts and everyone has a card and exchanges them. this includes food warehouses., high tech firms etc.

FBYJ

March 17th, 2012
9:15 pm

Not only those in sales, but also in purchasing, need business cards. While I use e-mail as a primary contact method, most of my phone calls are made from my office phone … not my cell phone. I keep my suppliers’ and customers’ contact information in my computer; but especially for my suppliers, that information is generally obtained from a business card.

Real World

March 17th, 2012
11:06 pm

I’m asked for, and I ask for, business cards just as much as I ever did. Don’t know what planet the author of this article lives on. Might happen in the near future, but business cards are alive and well today.

Hungry

March 17th, 2012
11:23 pm

Most of my business cards go into fish bowls at restaurants and I have yet to win a free lunch! Good riddance.

@works

March 18th, 2012
12:16 am

You wrap a WHOLE dollar around you card and you claim you get calls from strippers?? HA!

Who Cares?

March 18th, 2012
2:09 am

Like so many others have stated, they still work. They contain information like phone number, email and website that might be forgotten in conversation. Until all smart phones are able to “beam” the information like the old Palm Treo and Pilots, paper cards will do.

Another thought, since we’re in this wonderful economy, through downsizing, maybe there aren’t as many positions available in the work place. No positions = no employees = no need for cards. Maybe not too far off here!

Dr. J.

March 18th, 2012
5:07 am

Pathetic article. As the late Andy Rooney might say (only on the SNL imitation however), “Did ya ever wonder………..how people get each other’s e-mail addresses and telephone numbers to call/text in the first place?” The answer: Business cards. Try searching for a piece of paper when you need one to scribble down something. Instant solution: Back of a business card.

Yes, smart(arse) phones can be used for typing in a number quickly or maybe even e-mailing if you want to take the time out of the conversation to do so. But, the business card conveys a lot about a person’s position, the company’s importance, etc., simply by looking at the quality of the card. If it’s raised print, you know the cards were expensive. If it has a unique company logo or ad, you know the company is probably big in its industry. The suggestive marketing power of a card is enormous.

Lastly, if revenues for cards have decreased down to $200 million or so, it is probably because so many people and businesses generate their cards in-house on a color printer. I get at least one or two cards a day, more if I am at a company meeting.

Techno-snobs can blather all they want about the demise of the business card. Just like reading a hard-copy book, there are many reasons to continue using business cards like time savings and marketing power.

John Moore

March 18th, 2012
7:11 am

Business cards Have contact information on them like an EMAIL & A CELL PHONE NUMBER duh

Tm guy

March 18th, 2012
8:56 am

Techno-snobs also use business cards. I attended an event last month in which 30 start-up technology companies were pitching to win investor money. ALL 30 companies had business cards, as did all of the investors, lawyers, etc.

Thomas

March 19th, 2012
8:38 am

I used to use them at employment agencies and Financial workshops to pass out however your competitors for jobs just throw them away.

Our use now centers on our own business in manufacturing and sales marketing base where we pass out to potential customers and or take orders for future productions .

A huge sales aid for us which helped propel our business grrowth by 30% in 2011

JJT

March 21st, 2012
10:25 pm

When was the last time I was handed a business card? Hmm, let’s see…..today I was handed three.