Islamabad, Sept 29 : Ahead of Eid, to be celebrated on October 2, people in Pakistan are resorting to e-cards, SMSs, MMSs, and emails to send festival greetings to their near and dear ones. The ongoing inflationary trend hitting the common man has been cited as the major reason for the shift in habits of the people here.
Rafea Manan, a fine arts student in Islamabad, said that inflation had taken its toll and people could not afford buying flour, what to speak of greeting cards.
A fine-quality card costs around Rs 50 or even more, and customers are of the opinion that they don't want spending Rs 50 or more on a single card when they can get more attractive cards online for free.
According to an estimate, greeting cards business in Pakistan this year has been reduced to one-fifth of what it was last year. "A world of difference in the business of cards has been noted in the last five years. We used to buy cards worth Rs 250,000 in yesteryears but this time we invested only Rs 40,000," said Arshad Mehboob, a bookstore owner.
Amjad Malik, a stallholder at F-10 Markaz, said: "It seems that the people prefer modern tools of communication to post cards," he said, adding he would not set up a stall next year. It is learnt that 25 to 30 companies used to be in business of cards in recent past but this year their number has come down to eight to 10.
Besides the Internet and mobile phone services, Mehboob also blamed price-hike for the decline in the greetings cards business. Printing units are now busy printing cards for big firms, government offices and political parties only, reported the Daily Times.
On the other hand, animated and attractive e-cards have grabbed the market. There has been a rise in use of calling cards that charge as low as Rs 2-2.50 for international calls per minute. Since all these modes of communication are timesaving, people don't feel inclined to visit markets to choose an Eid card and then send it through post offices that charge Rs 4 for delivery of a 40-gram card in Pakistan.