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Direct Mail

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As of 2020, direct mail advertising has a total revenue of $9.5B. Industry revenue has declined by 8.2% in 2020 alone.
(Source: IBISWorld – Direct Mail Advertising, 2020)

Direct mail marketing touches most of us every day, at home and at work.  The volume of direct mail consumers receive is so high that many refer to it as "junk mail."  Direct mail hasn't disappeared, but has certainly declined in volume over the past 10 years. However, more marketers are adding mail to their array of integrated marketing tactics, because the engagement is growing as the clutter declines.

By definition, direct mail advertising is the process of sending offers or promotions by mail to current customers or others who may be prospects. Direct mail pieces may include a sales letter, brochure, order form and a prepaid envelope. Some companies advertise in a magazine-format piece or collection of inserts, combining with other companies for a more cost-effective effort.

82% of consumers are aware of direct mail packages and have read them in the past week.

  • 59% made a purchase as a result of reading direct mail.

(Source:  Valassis Awareness-to-Activation Study, 2020)

  • 75% of consumers have checked printed circulars to compare prices on various items. 
  • 82% of Millennials have used paper coupons they received in the mail.
    • 71% of Gen X 
    • 64% of Gen X
    • 54% of Baby Boomers

(Source: 2020 Valassis Consumer Intel Report)

Direct mail and COVID

The pandemic has allowed people to slow down and appreciate the things they didn't have time to before, including direct mail. According to a Valassis study, consumers have been looking forward to what they'll find in their mailbox.

  • 46% of consumers have become more interested in the deals, coupons or promotions since before the pandemic.
  • 37% of consumers are more excited to receive their mail each day, compared to how they felt prior to the pandemic.
  • 30% of consumers are reading the marketing/promotional pieces that arrive in their mailbox more since before the pandemic. 

(Source: Valassis, A Look at Consumer Behaviors in a COVID-19 World, 2020)

Direct Mail Advertising relies heavily on commercial markets with nearly 80% of all revenue coming from such market. The breakdown is:

  • 30% - Retail stores and catalogs
  • 24% - Finance, banking and insurance providers
  • 20% - Nonprofit organizations
  • 12% - Telecommunications and cable service providers
  • 8% - Other
  • 6% - Travel 

(Source: IBISWorld – Direct Mail Advertising, 2020)

Direct Mail Volume

  • As of 2020, the United States Postal Service delivered 129.2 billion units of traditional mail, marketing materials, periodicals and packgages throughout the country. 
    • 64.14 billion advertising mail pieces such as newsletters, catalogs, small marketing packages and other printed materials were delivered by the USPS. 

(Source: United States Postal Service 2020 Annual Report)

Direct Mail Revenue

  • In the fiscal year of 2020, USPS gained the majority of their revenue (28.5 billion) with shipping and packages services. Other segments include: 
    • First-class mail - 23.8 billion 
    • Marketing mail - 13.9 billion
    • International - 2.4 billion
    • Periodicals - 1 billion
    • Other - 3.5 billion

(Source: United States Postal Service 2020 Annual Report)

For Additional Information on Direct Mail Marketing:
Direct Marketing Association (DMA): http://thedma.org/
United States Postal Service (USPS): https://www.usps.com/business/promotions/direct-mail-brochure.pdf

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