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Andrei Khanov 
Khanov Greetings, owner and managing director 
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Greeting Cards by Greeting Carp
 
Andrei and Elena Khanovs, managing director and art director of Khanov Greetings and Greeting Carp:'We operate in the premium segment of the market which has been growing over the last few years, especially in everyday sector. 

Sales of Christmas cards were woeful in 2011. One of the reason for this 'great Christmas greeting card collapse' is the last Christmas holidays in Russia were far too long (3-4 weeks). 

During this holiday season many people prefer to leave cold and snow Russia and make tour of Thailand, the Maldives, the Canary islands, ect. As a result heaps of Christmas gifts and cards were not sold. As a result, the gross profit of the Russian retailers in the Christmas run up decreased by 25-50% compared to the Christmas season of 2010-2011. 

On a positive note, card sales of the Russian Spring events (Russian Men's and Women's Days and St Valentine's Day) this year increased compared to last year.And in January-February the gross profit of many Russian companies grew by 25-50%. But in March, following the Russian presidental elections growth came to a halt. Both buyers and sellers fear a new wave of economic crisis, highter taxes, ect, and are behaving very cautiously. 
 
 

In the medium and economy class segment, cheaper greeting cards are squeezing out their higher quality counterparts. 

In the premium segment (where we operate) the quality of greeting cards sold and the retail prices paid are growing. In this segment, greeting cards do not play the usual role as much (sending goods wishes), but are used more to project the giver's personality. 

For example we produce postcard with raps on to the music of some popular songs. As a result, often at a wedding or a birthday, there is a collective reading of these raps. 
 
 
 

Such greeting cards are recited for several hours, with up to four bottles of wine being emptied while they are doing it! 
Top: A scene on Khanov Greetings and Greeting Carp's stand at the recent Moscow Book Fair. Above: Andrei Khanova with one of the company's Vredina cards. "Vredina is an inoffensive (almost affectionate) Russian word to call a nice person who disagrees with you on something, ' he explains.
 
Russia and China share a common border - that says it all. The Russian greeting card markets is just starting to complete with unbranded greeting cards from China. The design is less of a considerations. It is all about 'selling at low prices'. 

Thankfully, sustaned marketing efforts are starting to have an effect on changing the customers' perceptions, and for that reason, the demand for the Chinese unbranded goods is declining. We continue to wage 'the Great War against the Great Wall'. 

Very few greeting cards in Russia are sent by mail. The reason is that way back in the 1990s our postal service started to tighten the purse string, just like in the UK and the US today. First mailboxes disappeared from the streets. Then postmen's visits became less frequent. Then the standart size of letter was changed. Than the lenght of time taken for the post to arrive was extended. 

We are very much looking forvard to PG Live to see the new things and to better appreciate the differents between the markets.' 
 

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©2012 Андрей Ханов
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