Direct mail remains one of the top channels for reaching target audiences, not only in the consumer space but with B2B audiences too, as it garners response rates higher than other direct media. Still, direct mail volumes in the US are on the decline, dipping 7.4% in 2019 to the lowest volume seen in at least the past 4 years, per a report [download page] from Winterberry Group.
The volume of direct mail sent out in the past few years has had its ups and downs, dropping 5.1% from 85.5 million in 2016 to 81.2 million in 2017 only to rally in 2018 for a total volume of 82.3 million (up 1.4% y-o-y). The latest decline brought the number of pieces of advertising mail sent out down to 76.2 million.
Spending on direct mail also declined in 2019, dropping 3.4% y-o-y to a total of $41.2. In 2020, though, it appears as though the pendulum will swing back again, with a slight increase in spend of 0.6%, to $41.2 billion.
Although direct mail appears to be losing favor with some advertisers, a recent report from the IAB found that 63% of D2C brands are using direct mail, more than the proportion using print media or out-of-home media.
Other research also shows that direct mail continues to have its merits. MarketingCharts’ The Benefits of Direct Mail Marketing shows that the majority of consumers across generations trust direct mail when making buying decisions, and that it is one of the leading influences of purchases among older generations.
Indeed, more recent data from 2019’s US Purchase Influencers Report indicates that 18% of Baby Boomers and 20% of Silents report having been influenced to purchase a product or service during the previous 6 months (from the survey date) by a catalog, advertising card or flyer received in the mail.
The full report can be found here.
About the Data: Figures are based on Winterberry Group spend estimates.