Traditional handwritten thank you letters are a thing of the past thanks to instant messaging

The most popular ways to thank someone now are via WhatsApp, Facebook, or email, but handwritten notes are still considered the most meaningful.

The traditional thank you card is going out of style due to instant messaging.
The traditional thank you card is going out of style due to instant messaging.

According to research, the traditional handwritten thank you letter is no longer the most popular way to express gratitude. Instead, digital methods such as instant messaging and email are favored.

A survey of 2,000 adults found that only 9% currently send thank you letters, down 11% from 10 years ago.

Instead, messages via whatsappSMS text, email and facebook have become one of the most common ways to express gratitude.

Regardless, handwritten thank you notes are actually still considered one of the most meaningful ways to say thank you — next to sincere phone calls and visiting someone to express your appreciation in person.

Further emphasizing the importance of face-to-face contact, M&S Club Rewards research found that hand-delivering flowers or coffee were also some of the most sincere ways to show gratitude.

But flower delivery is one of the 10 most meaningful ways to express gratitude.


Dixon Li/South China Morning Post/Getty Images)

The study also found that 58% say it’s more important than ever to say thank you to loved ones, and 28% admitted that the past couple of years have helped them appreciate the little things.

And 29% consider it important to show others how much they mean to them, so that they realize how much they are loved.

However, three out of ten are not inclined to meaningfully thank you as often as they would like.

Etiquette expert William Hanson said, “Thankfulness will never go out of style and while the way we say thank you may have changed, simple good manners are timeless and priceless and saying thank you has never been easier.

“However, in this digital age—and with all these new and simple ways to communicate and express our gratitude—quick expressions of gratitude via instant messaging have become the standard for many.

“But if you really want to share meaningful gratitude, give someone your time, or add an element of personal or more human touch, it will make a big difference and have a much bigger impact.”

The study also found that the average adult says thank you to their loved ones seven times a week, with one in ten expressing their gratitude 21 or more times over a seven day period.

Seven out of ten also believe that a meaningful “thank you” can be very powerful: respondents feel “grateful” (46%), “happy” (38%) and “positive” (31%) after receiving them.

More than a third (35%) also used loyalty points earned through reward schemes to share treats with others as a way to thank them.

WhatsApp is among the most popular ways to send a thank you message to someone


Jakub Porzycki / NurPhoto / Getty Images)

Nearly four in ten (38%) do so because they enjoy looking forward to little treats throughout the year that they can enjoy with friends and family.

And 43% like to thank others in this way, because it is pleasant for both relatives and themselves.

Paul Stokes of M&S Club Rewards said: “Our research shows that while the art of saying thank you may have evolved over the years, the importance of expressing our gratitude has never been higher.

“Over the past few years, we’ve had to come together and support each other, perhaps more than ever, so it’s great to see so many of us as a nation taking the time to share words of thanks.

“While some of the more traditional ways of saying thank you still exist today, our research has shown that people express their gratitude in different ways.

“Using loyalty points and vouchers earned throughout the year is a great way to express your gratitude and make others happy.”


  1. Phone call
  2. whatsapp message
  3. SMS text message
  4. Email address
  5. facebook message
  6. hugs
  7. Visiting someone’s home to say thank you in person
  8. handwritten letter
  9. Hand delivery of flowers
  10. Little present
  11. Organization of flower delivery
  12. With chocolates
  13. treat someone to coffee
  14. invite someone to eat
  15. FaceTime call
  16. Offering someone help in the future/offering support
  17. With cake
  18. Electronic card
  19. message on instagram
  20. Video message

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