Following a double-digit percentage pandemic-driven decline between 2019 and 2020, direct mail volume grew for a second consecutive year last year, per a Winterberry Group report [download page]. Citing USPS statistics, the study indicates that direct mail volume grew by 1% to almost 73 million.
That 1% rise is below the 3.6% rate reported for 2021, though, suggesting that direct mail may take some time to reach its pre-pandemic levels, if ever. The 2022 total is more than 10% lower than it was in 2019 (81.4 million).
Still, direct mail can be an effective way for brands to introduce themselves to consumers, and marketers did up their spending on this channel last year. Per the report, US marketing spending on direct mail grew by 1.6% last year, and is set to double that rate of growth this year (+3.3%) to $43.1 billion.
Direct mail is also an important piece of US spending on data, identity, data services and platforms. According to Winterberry Group’s report, total US spending on data, identity data services and platforms — which “includes analytics (modeling, measurement and attribution), spend on CRM, CDP and DMP platforms, data management and hygiene, excludes cloud hosting services” — grew by 16.1% y-o-y to reach $31.7 billion. Direct mail accounted for more than one-sixth of that total, at $5.6 billion, slightly ahead of TV (linear, addressable and CTV), which grew by 32.2% to $5.5 billion. Additionally, spending on direct mail in this context was double that of spending on email ($2.8 billion).
Looking ahead, and Winterberry Group expects that US spending on data, identity data services and platforms will grow by 7.4% this year to $34 billion. Direct mail’s portion is predicted to shrink slightly, as spending declines by 2.7% to $5.4 billion.
For more, download the report here.