Consumers are now faced with a huge variety of plastic playing cards to choose from. Whether looking for cards to use during a casual game night or in a professional cards tournament, choosing the right playing cards can make all of the difference to the overall experience.
Here, we’ll discuss the different features of plastic playing cards as well as the industry overall.
Global market value of playing cards
Playing cards must be versatile, fitting both social and competitive settings. Although the use of phones has taken some of the limelight away from traditional card games, they remain in demand among families and friends who enjoy this age-old tradition of passing the time. One reason for their enduring popularity is that they’re extremely portable and take up minimal space, making them the perfect game to take traveling or throw in a bag before heading out the door.
According to Data Bridge Market Research, the global market value of playing cards and board games in 2023 is over US $17 billion. That number is projected to grow to at least US $34.35 billion by 2030 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 9.2%. This demonstrates the enduring popularity of games despite the threat that phones and other technologies pose to entertaining group activities.
Popular styles of plastic playing cards
Plastic playing cards, although similar in design and function to older cards, have evolved in recent years to appeal more to modern-day consumers. While traditional playing cards are still very popular, new materials and playing styles have seen new variations emerge, including jumbo, waterproof, transparent, and themed playing cards, among others.
According to Google Ads, “plastic playing cards” have an average monthly search volume of 6,600. Between May and November 2023 searches remained steady at 6,600 per month and increased to 8,100 searches in February and August. “Jumbo playing cards” and “waterproof playing cards” come next with 2,900 searches each, while “transparent playing cards” and “themed playing cards” received 1,000 searches each.
Below, we’ll dive into the key features of each of these popular styles of plastic playing cards.
Plastic poker cards
Poker cards and regular playing cards are almost identical, except for the latter being slightly larger in size. Plastic poker cards have gained popularity in recent years due to their durability and ease with which they can be cleaned – especially important features for cards used in casinos or gaming halls.
Google Ads shows that over a six-month period between May and November 2023, searches for “plastic poker cards” remained steady at 6,600 searches per month.
Jumbo playing cards
Plastic jumbo playing cards are a fun alternative to regular-sized cards whose novelty value has made them popular among casual gamers. Their strong plastic material makes them resistant to water as well as tearing – a bonus if being used by children.
Google Ads shows that over a six-month period between May and November 2023, searches for “jumbo playing cards” increased by 17%, with the highest number of searches occurring in January at 3,600.
Waterproof playing cards
Waterproof playing cards are also known for their durability, which is why they are often preferred over regular paper playing cards. Their plastic material is naturally waterproof, making them ideal for players who are likely to use them a lot outdoors, such as when camping.
Google Ads shows that over a six-month period between May and November 2023, searches for “waterproof playing cards” remained steady at 2,400, with the number of searches occurring in August at 4,400.
Transparent playing cards
For consumers looking for a unique style of cards, transparent playing cards may tick all the right boxes. These cards come in fully or semi-transparent variations, which sets them apart aesthetically from regular paper cards. What consumers tend to like about these cards is that they are easily customizable, which makes them great for promotional events or specially designed as a keepsake.
Google Ads shows that over a six-month period between May and November 2023, searches for “transparent playing cards” remained steady at 1,000, hitting a high of 1,300 in August.
Themed playing cards
Finally, consumers who want something a little extra from their playing cards may instead choose themed plastic playing cards. These themed cards are usually more visually appealing than regular decks and can include everything from a brand’s logo to TV show or movie themes. These plastic playing cards are also known for having additional features such as raised print or textured surfaces, not only enhancing the look but also the feel of the cards.
Google Ads shows that over a six-month period between May and November 2023, searches for “themed playing cards” remained steady at 1,000, topping out at 1,600 December and January.
The type of playing cards that appeal to certain consumers depends on how they intend to use them. For example, plastic poker cards are perfect for casinos, whereas themed playing cards will predominantly be used by casual games. Most playing cards today are designed with durability in mind and can be used for endless hours of fun, which is what makes them such a popular alternative to traditional paper playing cards.
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