A survey of 200 printers in 15 U.S. cities shows a substantial increase in the use of business cards. Conducted by Rolodex, the study found that demand had risen by 19.1% over five years (1987 to 1992) and by 20.8% over three years (1989 to 1992). Although one component is historic growth in the birthrate of new businesses (about 11% per year), variances can be attributed to the recession or regional recovery therefrom, says Rolodex vice-president of marketing Rick Tremmel. An increment in business-card ordering comes either from companies and individuals working harder to maintain existing business activity in a weak economy, or from increasing numbers of idled or worried job seekers. Conversely, cities where the growth of business-card use has tapered off -- Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Houston, and Minneapolis -- are recovering from the recession.

-- Robert A. Mamis

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Growth Rate for Use of Business Cards
Since 1987 Since 1989

City (5 years ago) (3 years ago)

Atlanta 20.0% 15.0%

Boston 10.0 26.5

Chicago 34.0 21.4

Cleveland 30.0 35.0

Dallas 9.2 5.0

Denver 35.0 22.6

Detroit 17.8 20.0

Houston 25.0 17.0

Los Angeles 6.0 10.0

Miami 5.0 18.0

Minneapolis 18.5 13.5

New York 12.8 19.3

Philadelphia 15.6 23.8

St. Louis 17.8 23.1

San Francisco 30.0 41.2

Overall average 19.1 20.8

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Source: Rolodex, Secaucus, N.J., 1992.