SMS, internet clamp traditional Eid cards
(Flare (Pakistan) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) The trend of sending cards on Eid is fading over time and people now prefer to opt for E-card services and use Short Messaging Service’s (SMS) and email via social media websites.
The Eid cards have been replaced by SMSs and emails as in the past, people used to start buying Eid cards with the beginning of Ramazan. The trend of placing orders for special Eid greeting cards has almost come to an end. Such sorts of SMS or email cards are liked particularly by youth who are quick to adopt new technologies. Finding new trends to wish Eid have affected the businesses of the card industry. In the recent past, people used to prepare the lists of friends, relatives and others for sending Eid cards. The selection of the cards used, vary according to the nature of relationship.
But now, people do not have time to buy a card and go to a post office to post it rather they like to send SMS containing texts, pictures or animations to greet their relatives and friends. It is find some companies have printed their own cards and send to their clients, friends and relatives. With the sighting of Eid moon, the Eid greeting SMSs start circulating, rendering the cell phone networks busy and overloaded.
A survey conducted by Flare team revealed that people who had been in the business of selling Eid cards for decades, forced to quit their business. Similarly, shopkeepers used to set up makeshift stalls in front of their shops to sell Eid cards but this scene is fast diminishing from the markets. Bangles, henna, jewellery and other items were still sold at makeshift stalls. At some stalls, Eid cards are available in a limited number.
The majority of the stallholders who had purchased a limited number of Eid cards are finding it difficult to clear their stocks. In Urdu Bazaar, Anarkali, Ichra, Moon Market, and Liberty Market the number of Eid card stalls has declined and vendors are selling the old cards in new packing. The reason can be the prices of card on rise in few months multiple. Owner of a bookshop at Anarkali admitted that the trend of buying Eid cards is diminishing with time.
He said, “A few years back, we had to hire extra staff to sell Eid cards. Their sale gained momentum after 15th Ramadan and Pakistan post services gave special instructions to people to dispatch their cards on time”.
The customers did not purchase the high prices cards as they considered easiest and fastest way to SMS. Eid card sellers in Urdu Bazaar said the skyrocketing inflation has pushed the card prices up. In the past, a good quality card was available for Rs 10 to Rs 20 in the wholesale and in retail the stallholders charged Rs 20 to Rs 30 per card. But now, the wholesale price of a good quality cards has reached Rs 20 to Rs 35 per piece and in retail it is sold for Rs 35 to Rs 50. People avoid buying Eid cards for Rs 50 per piece and prefer to wish people through SMSs as it costs less. People subscribe to special packages offering unlimited SMSs to wish people on special occasions such as Eid.
Waleed Akhtar at Moon Market, Gulshan-eRavi said the business of publishing Eid cards has nosedived due to rising inflation. Mazharul Haq who selected the cards for his friends asked I could not buy the Eid cards due to high prices so I decided to send them self-designed Eid greeting cards by email.
“The cost of paper, card, polythene and other materials has increased by 60 to 70 per cent as compared to the last year,” he said, adding that the frequent power outages have also affected the business. Meanwhile, Eid wish through SMS is considered as a cost effective way to greet friends and relatives across the world. The cellular companies offer different packages to facilitate their customers charging least cost of sending short message service (SMS) while receiving SMS is free on all the networks.
"Despite mailing Eid cards, I prefer sending email and SMS through mobile to wish my friends and family as it is the fastest and cheapest way to exchange our heartiest wishes with each other", saidIrsa Nadeem, a college student. The trend of sending SMS is popular not only in major cities but also in the rural areas as all the cellular companies offer wide network services in far flung areas too."As compared to the cost of phone calls, sending Eid SMS is considered an easy practice and now the facility of international SMS has brought people living across the world, closer to each other," said Shan, a franchise holder of a renowned GSM provider. "It is like an addiction," said Maira, a student Queen Marry College and added that her speed of writing messages was unbeatable and many of her friends contacted her when they have to send lengthy Eid SMS. On the other hand, despite latest communication technology, different varieties of Eid greeting cards are still getting attention of buyers in the country.
Eid cards are at display in every nook and corner of bazaars in addition to the regular sale points like book stores and stationary shops. The display reflects the mood of people. With so many shops and makeshift stalls selling the Eid greeting cards, demand still outstrips supply. They are a must-buy on every one's shopping list. Everybody wants to send Eid greetings to his/her loved ones.
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