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Direct Mail

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As of 2018, direct mail advertising has a total revenue of $11B. Industry revenue is expected to decrease at an annualized rate of 1.8% to 2024.

(Source: IBISWorld – Direct Mail Advertising, 2019)

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.

The Direct Marketing Association (DMA) analyzed Bizo and Epsilon data and found:

  • Direct mail achieves a 4.4% response rate
  • E-mail achieves a 0.12% response rate

(Source: IBIS World – Direct Mail Advertising – US Market Research Report May 2018)

According to the United Mail 2018 report:

  • 87% of millennials enjoy receiving direct mail
  • 77% of millennials react to direct mail advertising

(Source: United Mail – Is Direct Mail Relevant in 2018)

  • In 2018, direct mail response rate to house listings was 9%, nearly doubling 2017’s response rate of 5.1%.
  • The direct mail median return on investments on house listings was 41%
  • Letter-sized mail performed well for lead generation with a 15.1% response rate

(Source: ANA; DMA Response Rate Report, 2018)

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, 2019)

Industries that use direct mail the most include:

  • 80% - Travel or Hospitality
  • 75% - Nonprofits
  • 71% - Publishing or Media
  • 67% - Financial Services
  • 63% - Healthcare
  • 58% - Other

(Source: ANA; DMA Response Rate Report, 2018)

  • In 2019, 50% of consumers preferred coupons in the mail while 38% preferred to get their coupons on their mobile device
  • 91% of consumers said that they used coupons that were received in the mail

(Source: Valassis, 2K19 Coupon Intelligence Report, 2019)



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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