by Innocent Mushamba

In today’s mobile-first world, where digital networking platforms like LinkedIn have gained immense popularity, the relevance of traditional business cards has been questioned. Tech enthusiasts argue that business cards are outdated and that NFC (near-field communication) technology or QR codes should be used instead. With global stats all agreeing that 88% of all business cards are thrown away within the first week after being given out, with 63% of those cards not even being used, are they still relevant in 2024?

For starters, the COVID-19 pandemic massively impacted business card print production. According to Vistaprint’s president, in a BBC interview where he was asked about the print industry in 2020, he remarked, “Business cards sales were down 70% globally during that time.” Before the pandemic, 27 million business cards were printed daily. With a lot less physical events, and the rise of remote work, companies around the world began to network on digital platforms. But now that companies are calling back people back into the office, does that mean business cards have lost their relevance?

Let’s answer that by asking the question, “Have business card sales improved, and if so, why?”

Research shows that the business card market is expected to reach USD 242.3 million by 2027, growing at a CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate of 11.2% between 2021 and 2027. I know right now there’s someone reading this, thinking “it’s because the older generation in leadership just can’t move with the times.’’ Hold on to that thought for just a second.

Did you know that a 2023 research by Tapni revealed that 34% of ecommerce businesses now include business cards that come as part of the package for dispatched orders? Data-driven businesses know the power of personalization! That personal touch makes brands more memorable.

So you see, the reason we see a rise in business card sales is simply because THEY WORK! Business cards work! The average website has a conversion rate of 2.35% while business card’s average is 12 %, according to the same 2023 research. Does that mean digital marketing doesn’t give results? Of course not. Granted, online and physical audiences are often different target markets altogether.

The principle is this: people do business with people they like. Personal interactions tend to be more meaningful because it’s face to face. The act of physically handing over a card and engaging in a conversation can leave a lasting impression and build trust and rapport.

According to Credit Donkey’s Global Business survey, “it’s a breach of etiquette to not have business cards. People expect them…attempting to network without them is a big mistake.” Business etiquette alone is reason enough to always have business cards. Not having a business card makes you look disorganized and unprepared.

On the flipside, a memorable business card makes you referable. It brings your brand to life, is a convenient means for people to get your contacts quickly and creates a credible professional image. A good business card can be a great tool for B2B referrals.

A popular Japanese journal,, asserts that anyone who is in business MUST always carry at least 100 business cards per week for business trips, on average handing out 3 or 4 cards at a small meeting,  10-12 cards at a larger meeting, and over 100 for a trade show.

Now that we know that business cards are still a vital business tool, how can we make sure that we create value and stay relevant when we reach into our pockets to hand them out? Here’s what we should really ask: What’s the value you’re willing to put on your brand?

The world’s most expensive business cards are the Black Astrum Signature Cards, which cost USD1,500 each, sold in a pack of 25, 50 or 100, meaning the least you can spend to get them is USD37,500 for 25, and if you want a pack of 100 then that will cost you $150,000. That is how much value some people are willing to put in their personal brand.

The number one mistake when making business cards is using cheap-looking paper. According to Discover Print, 39% of people will not do business with people who have cheap-looking business cards. In many cases, it is better not to have a business card than to have a bad one.

Blogs around the world all agree that about 86% of customers around the world say that thicker business cards look more professional. Thinner card material does not nearly portray the same professional acumen that thicker card paper does.

Sidenote: there are business cards with a different type of thickness, and if you’re a foodie you may want to order a pack. They’re called edible business cards and they’re often infused with chocolate or plantable seed paper. Okay, now let’s get back to our discussion!

Simplicity is the golden rule of a good business card. No one wants to strain their eyes with an overcrowded, busy and cluttered card. The right balance of space is key. Colour is more memorable and stands out more than plain white. This is why a company must invest in a brand manual and moodboard.

Aesthetics are great, but the card must also be functional. If there is a QR code, measures should be taken to ensure that  it works. A lot of times, the domain for a company’s website or landing page may change, and this affects your QR code. It is not the printer’s fault. It’s neglect on the part of the marketing team. If there are typing errors, that too falls into the marketing department.

In conclusion, despite the advancements in digital networking, business cards continue to hold relevance in 2024. They provide a tangible and personal way to make a lasting impression, showcase branding, and establish professional connections.

By embracing current trends in design, materials, and digital integration, business cards can effectively complement digital strategies and contribute to successful networking and business growth.

Innocent Mushamba is marketing manager at No Walls Media.