50 is the new 18 as sales of birth­day cards for those cel­e­brat­ing five decades soar

The Scotsman - - News Digest - By JANE BRADLEY Con­sumer Af­fairs Cor­re­spon­dent

There was a time when the 18th birth­day was con­sid­ered the big­gest cause for cel­e­bra­tion – to mark the point at which a child be­came an adult. Now, it seems that 50 is the new 18, with more birth­day cards sold for 50th birth­days than the tra­di­tional mile­stones of 18 or 21.

Cards to cel­e­brate five decades now ac­count for 15 per cent of all sold at re­tailer Clin­tons, while cards for 18th and 21st birth­days fol­low closely be­hind at 13.8 per cent and 14.1 per cent re­spec­tively.

Tra­di­tion­ally, 18th and 21st birth­days have been re­garded as most sig­nif­i­cant as they are points when young­sters have been able to do things such as vote for the first time.

Com­bined, mile­stone cards for the over 70’s – in­clud­ing for those reach­ing their cen­tury – now ac­count for al­most a fifth of sales.

Tim Fairs, vice-pres­i­dent of mar­ket­ing and ecom­merce at Clin­tons, said: “When I was a kid, your 18th was the big birth­day – it was about be­com­ing an adult – get­ting the vote, buy­ing al­co­hol and the chance to marry that girl your par­ents didn’t ap­prove of.

“Whilst 18 and 21 are still a cause for cel­e­bra­tion, we’re see­ing that many of the later mile­stones are mov­ing up the im­por­tance lad­der. With more cen­te­nar­i­ans than ever, 50 is a great time to stop, re­flect and pre­pare for the next 50.”

While 21 has al­ways been seen as sig­nif­i­cant due to it be­ing the age peo­ple could first vote un­til the limit was changed to 18 in 1970 and 16 for scot­tish elec­tions only from 2015 – it is still seen as a mile­stone.

Me­gan Orr, of Liggy’s Cake Com­pany, which has branches in Ed­in­burgh and Glas­gow, said the firm was in­creas­ingly be­ing com­mis­sioned to cre­ate cakes for 50th birth­days.

She said: “Cer­tainly for women in par­tic­u­lar, we are do­ing more 50th birth­day cakes than we were in the past. It seems that peo­ple are choos­ing to cel­e­brate birth­days as they get older, whereas be­fore, they would per­haps have shied away from cel­e­brat­ing big­ger birth­days and maybe not have done some­thing spe­cial.”

Celebri­ties who marked their 50th birth­days in style this year in­cluded ac­tors Ni­cole Kid­man, Matt Le Blanc and Emily Wat­son and singer R Kelly.

Two years ago, Si­mon Cow­ell spared no ex­pense to cel­e­brate his 50th, when he in­vited 400 of his “clos­est friends” to a party at his 2,500-acre es­tate in Hert­ford­shire.


0 Cel­e­bra­tions of turn­ing half-a-cen­tury are in­creas­ing – and sales of 50th birth­day cards have over­taken those for 18th and 21st

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