The traditional handwritten “thank you” letter is no longer the most popular way to express gratitude, with digital methods such as instant messages and emails favored instead, according to research.
A poll of 2,000 adults found just 9 percent send a letter of thanks nowadays – a drop of 11 percent compared to 10 years ago – while messages via WhatsApp, SMS text, email and Facebook, have become some of the most common ways to show appreciation.
Despite this, handwritten notes of gratitude are in fact considered to be among the most meaningful ways to say thank you – close behind heartfelt phone calls and visiting someone to show appreciation in person.
Further highlighting the significance of the personal touch, the M&S Club Rewards research found hand-delivering flowers or treating someone to a coffee were also among the most genuine ways to show thanks.
The research also found 58 percent think it is more important than ever to say thank you to loved ones, with 28 percent admitting the last couple of years have helped them appreciate the little things.
And 29 percent think it’s important to show others just how much they mean to them so they realize how loved they are.
However, 3 in 10 don’t tend to say thank you in a meaningful way as often as they would like.
“Gratitude will never fall out of fashion and while how we say thank you may have changed, simple good manners are timeless and priceless, and saying thank you has never been easier,” said etiquette expert William Hanson.
“However, in our digital age – and with all these new and simple ways to communicate and show our gratitude – saying a quick thank you via instant message has become the default for many.
“But if you really want to share a meaningful thank you, giving someone your time or adding an element of a personal or more human touch will go a long way and have a much bigger impact.”
The study also found the average adult says thank you to loved ones seven times a week – with 1 in 10 expressing their gratitude 21 times or more.
Seven in 10 also feel a meaningful “thank you” can be very powerful, with those polled feeling “appreciated” (46 percent), “happy” (38 percent), and “positive” (31 percent) following one.
More than a third (35 percent) have also used loyalty points earned through reward schemes to share treats with others as a way of thanking them. Almost 4 in 10 (38 percent) do this because they like having small treats to look forward to throughout the year which they can enjoy with friends and family.
And 43 percent like to thank others in this way because it makes both loved ones and themselves feel good.
Paul Stokes, from 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 showing our gratitude has never been higher.
“Over the last few years, we have had to come together and support each other perhaps more than ever, so it’s great to see that, as a nation, so many of us are taking the time to share a thank you.
“While some of the more traditional ways of saying thank you are still around today, our research found that people are showing their thanks in many different ways.
“Using loyalty points and rewards vouchers earned throughout the year is a great way to show your gratitude and treat others.”
Top 20 Most Popular Ways To Say “Thank You”
- A phone call
- WhatsApp message
- SMS text message
- Facebook message
- A hug
- A visit to somebody’s home to say thank you in person
- Handwritten letter
- Hand delivering flowers
- A small gift
- Arranging for flowers to be delivered
- With chocolates
- Treating someone to a coffee
- Taking someone out for a meal
- A FaceTime call
- Offering someone help in the future/offer of support
- With cake
- Instagram message
- Video message