Updated: Sep 7, 2021
Playing cards are making a comeback! That's right! a comeback in a big way. Since the spread of COVID-19, Americans have been finding creative ways to stay sharp, stay entertained and lets be honest... stay sane. Mobile and video has definitely become the go-to destination for non-stop stimulation, but for some (and by some I mean ALOT) have gone back to "the classics" make the most out of gatherings with friends and family in our new social-distancing society. And with this new found excitement for playing cards, comes new innovative ways to keep Americans shuffling and plucking decks.
A Brief History of American Playing Cards
The history of playing cards started a long journey beginning in the East, making its way to Europe, Italy, Spain, France, England and America. Although the first playing cards were introduced in the late 1300s and 1400s, America was a late player to the playing card game. Since as early as the 1800s, there have been examples of playing card decks in America with original suit symbols and designs. Among the early American card manufacturers were the New York Consolidated Card Company and the Consolidated Card Company where innovations flourished including the introduction to corner indices (to to make it easier for players to recognize card suits by fanning slightly) and the addition of Jokers to the deck.
Playing Cards in Wartime
As early as the Spanish-American war, playing cards helped support wartime soldiers with both an affordable and convenient means of entertainment. With its lightweight packaging and portable size, playing cards were used to help build stronger bonds and uplift the spirits of soldiers during down times. By the times of the Civil War, playing cards could be found in every American camp. Since troops spent a lot of time in camp in between battles, playing cards spread across camps and so did the variety of games played.
The Playing Card Today
In 2018, the global playing cards market size (including tabletop board games) was valued at USD 11.95 billion and is expected to see continuous growth. Increased preference of millennials for more "classic" games during social gatherings has contributed to its growth and increased popularity of playing cards for recreation, competition, learning and entertainment.
The re-emergence of card games as entertainment and recreational activities can be contributed to the popularity of online and mobile card games. As classic card games and new games are introduced into the market, fans of all ages are getting in on the fun and the industry is taking notice. Manufacturers are working to attract more consumers with pop culture references, impressive artwork and competitive pricing. Many of the top playing card brands and manufacturers including the United States Playing Card Company, Cartamundi and SPADES BRAND are positioning brands to take advantage of this resurgence in the playing card industry. For the playing card fans and enthusiasts, we only have one thing to say...Let the games begin!