47 Important Statistics On Direct Mail

Direct mail statistics every marketer should know

We’ve put together this list of important statistics on direct mail because direct mail has always been an exceptionally popular channel for receiving advertisements and marketing materials among consumers. Most marketers are shocked by the direct mail stats that explain the scope and impact of the channel.

In fact, the US Postal Service sent over 77 Billion piece of Marketing Mail in 2018! @USPS

As digital marketing channels have become increasingly crowded and expensive in recent years, more marketers are turning their sights toward traditional channels.

As a result, they are finding that direct mail marketing is not only an effective option but when combined with digital or email marketing, campaign ROI is tremendously improved.

In this article, we’ll review direct mail stats that show how popular, effective, and well-received direct mail campaigns are and make the case for why more companies should integrate direct mail into their existing marketing operations. 

Response Rate Statistics On Direct Mail

2018 DMA Direct Mail Response Rate Report

1. The response rate of direct Direct mail was 4.9% for 2018 prospect lists. This represented significant growth over 2017, according to the 2018 ANA/DMA Response Rate Report. (Source: ANA/DMA Response Rate Report 2018) @ANAmarketers

Get A Full Direct Mail Response Rate Overview

2. In 2018, the direct mail response rate for house lists was 9%. This is the highest number since the DMA began releasing their response rate report and nearly doubles the figures reported the previous year. (Source: ANA/DMA Response Rate Report 2018)  @ANAmarketers

3. A letter-sized envelope for lead generation campaigns to a house file produced the best response rate, at 15.1%.  (Source: ANA/DMA Response Rate Report 2018@ANAmarketers

4. The average intended household response rate for First-Class mail is 13% and while Standard mail is 11%. (Source: USPS Diary Study 2016, Table 5.10) @USPS 

5. $49.20 is the median cost per response for prospect lists. (Source: ANA/DMA Response Rate Report 2018@ANAmarketers

6. Direct mail increases online donations 40% to non-profits. (Dunham+Company) @dunhamco

7. The response rate for direct mail among people ages 18-21 years old is 12.4%. (Source: ANA/DMA Response Rate Report 2018@ANAmarketers

8. The top direct mail tracking methods are pURLs (61%), call center or telephone (53%), and code or coupon (42%). (Source: ANA/DMA Response Rate Report 2018@ANAmarketers

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9. From 2015 to 2016, direct mail customer response rates increased by 43%. (Source: ANA/DMA Response Rate Report 2018@ANAmarketers

Key Things to Remember About Direct Mail:

why consumers trust direct mail - abe lincoln quote

Direct mail marketing is becoming more popular and more effective with each year. As digital marketing channels become increasingly crowded, traditional advertising channels present a real opportunity for companies that are looking to diversify their marketing operations. 

Direct mail boasts a high level of engagement, a high level of trust among consumers, and delivers tangible collateral that improves your chances of catching the eye of your ideal customers. 

Tracking presents a challenge for many companies in this space, but with Postalytics’ delivery and response tracking features, you can confidently launch new marketing campaigns and ensure that you will know how they performed while integrating them with your digital marketing campaigns. 

Statistics On Direct Mail Usage

US Local Advertising Spend 2018

10. Direct mail is the single largest category of US local advertising spend, at $38.5 billion in 2018 .  (Source: BIA/Kelsey) @BIAKelsey

11. 81% of marketers plan to maintain or increase usage of direct mail in the next 12 months. (Source: ANA/DMA Response Rate Report 2018@ANAmarketers

12. Direct mail spend in the US is $38.5 billion. This accounts for the largest US-based channel advertising spend. (Fundera) @fundera

13. 70% of consumers prefer traditional mail for cold, unsolicited offers.  (Source: ANA/DMA Response Rate Report 2018@ANAmarketers

14. 82% of millennials view messages print advertisements as more trustworthy than digital marketing materials. (Source: 5 Myths About Millennials and Mail) @USPS

15. 60% of UK consumers say direct mail makes more of an impression than any screen-based advertisement. (Source: Private Life of Mail)

16. 48% of people retain direct mail for future reference. (Source: DMR)

17. 92% of millennials have had a purchasing decision influenced by direct mail. (Source: National Mortgage Professional Magazine)

18. Direct mail makes up 52.7 percent of the national marketing budget. (Source: Web Intermix)

19. U.S. advertisers spend $167 per person on direct mail to earn $2,095 worth of goods sold; a 1,300 percent return. (Source: EZ24x7 ) @EZ24x7

Key Things to Remember About Direct Mail Spending Stats:

Statistics on direct mail spending give marketers a sense of how prevalent the channel is.

Direct mail is incredibly popular and delivers exceptional returns to the companies that invest in it. With over half of the national marketing budget being spent on direct mail advertisements in 2019, it’s easy to forget just how widespread the channel is in nearly every industry. 

The popularity of direct mail as a channel with millennials often comes as a surprise to many companies. They expect them to heavily favor digital platforms over the traditional. But millennials trust direct mail for the same reasons that older demographics do — the personal, targeted, tangible nature of the channel. 

One of the biggest benefits of direct mail is the tangible nature of the advertisements. By providing resources and valuable information to your audience through direct mail, you make them more likely to hang on to your ad for reference and stay top-of-mind moving forward. 

Psychology of Direct Mail Statistics

20. 76% of consumers trust direct mail when they want to make a purchase decision, over digital channels. (Source: MarketingSherpa@MarketingSherpa

21. Direct mail requires 21% less cognitive effort to process than digital media sources. It also creates a higher brand recall, making it an ideal platform for building awareness. (Source: “A Bias for Action,” Canada Post) @canadapostcorp

22. Direct mail’s motivation response is 20% higher than digital media, making it a more persuasive platform. (Source: “A Bias for Action,” Canada Post) @canadapostcorp

23. According to a study from Millward Brown and Bangor University, the tangible aspect of direct mail leaves “a deeper footprint in the brain.” (Source: ”Using Neuroscience to Understand the Role of Direct Mail,” Millward Brown and Bangor University) @K_MillwardBrown

24. Direct mail “involves more emotional processing that other channels, which is important for memory and brand associations.” (Source: Using Neuroscience to Understand the Role of Direct Mail) @K_MillwardBrown

25. Direct mail generated “more brain responses connected with internal feelings, suggesting greater ‘internalization’ of the ads.” (Source: Using Neuroscience to Understand the Role of Direct Mail) @K_MillwardBrown

26. The average human attention span is eight seconds. (Source: Digital Information World)

27. Direct mail takes 21% less cognitive effort to process than digital marketing because the audience doesn’t have to invest time in understanding direct mail. (Source: Canada Post) @canadapostcorp

Key Things to Remember About Direct Mail Psychology:

These statistics on direct mail psychology show it is easier to engage with, remember, and more impactful on purchasing decisions, according to numerous in-depth studies on the subject. 

There are many factors that contribute to this. The fact that when we open direct mail, we are less likely to be multi-tasking plays a big role. The fatigue that most people experience when it comes to digital advertisements has led to high levels of banner blindness among consumers. The tangible nature of direct mail simply connects better with consumers cognitively. 

If you are considering expanding your marketing operations to include direct mail, the neuroscience behind the direct mail stats can help illustrate the brand awareness benefits of direct mail marketing.

Direct Mail Perception Statistics

28. 36% of people under the age of 30 look forward to checking the mail each day. (Source: 2015 Gallup Poll@GallupNews

29. 75% of households usually read or scan at least some of the direct mail advertising materials that they receive. (Source: The Household Diary Study 2016,)  

30. Across all ages, 41% of people look forward to checking their mail each day. (Source: 2015 Gallup Poll@GallupNews

31. According to a MarketingCharts study, direct mail was found to be the top purchase influencer among Baby Boomers, even beating out product recommendations from family and friends. (Source: Marketing Charts)

32. 59% of US respondents say they enjoy getting mail from brands about new products. (Source: Epsilon) @EpsilonMkgt

33. Postcards outperformed email in five out of nine tests in a study from the USPS Office of the Inspector General. (Source: USPS Office of the Inspector General) @USPS

Key Things to Remember About Channel Perception:

Statistics on direct mail perception show that direct mail is an incredibly popular channel that is well-received by consumers of all ages. It is, however, not as saturated as many digital channels that companies are relying on today. 

Among older demographics like Baby Boomers, direct mail is the channel for learning about new products and services, even beating out product recommendations from family and friends. 

With more than 75% of households reading or scanning at least some of the mail that they receive daily, it’s easy to see why direct mail so often outperforms email alone.  

Direct Mail And Email Statistics

Direct mail vs email - the wrong fight

34. 80-90% of direct mail gets opened, only 20-30% of email. (Source: Small Biz Trends) @smallbiztrends

35. 72% of consumers state they prefer to connect with brands through multiple channels before making a purchase. @postalytics

36. Direct mail marketing delivers a 37% higher response rate than email response rates. (Source: ANA/DMA Response Rate Report 2018@ANAmarketers

37. At 9% (house list) and 5% (prospect list), direct mail response rates are 9X and 5X higher than that of email, paid search and social media — with online display at a dismal 0.3%. (Source: Warranty Week

38. The average household receives only two pieces of direct mail a day compared to 157 e-mails. (Source: USPS Marketer’s Guide) @USPS

39. Overall, 22% of emails were read in 2016. The remaining emails were deleted, filtered into spam folders, ignored, or never reached their intended recipients. (Source: Marketing Profs) @MarketingProfs

Key Things to Remember About The Two Channels:

Statistics on direct mail vs email show that in side-by-side tests and surveys, direct mail consistently outperforms email alone. However, the two channels complement each other well

Using Postalytics, you can track recipients that engage with your direct mail campaigns and integrate those campaigns with your broader marketing strategies, including integrating the channel with digital channels. 

Relevancy and Personalization are Key

40. Nearly 80% of consumers are more likely to do business with a company that offers personalized experiences. (Source: ANA/DMA Response Rate Report, 2018) @ANAmarketers

41. 91% of consumers are more likely to trust companies with their personal information if they explain how collecting and using the data will deliver a better experience. (Source: ANA/DMA Response Rate Report, 2018) @ANAmarketers

42. 52% of consumers would share personal data in exchange for relevant, personalized product recommendations. (Source: Salesforce) @salesforce

43. 53% of consumers would share personal data for personalized shopping experiences beyond product recommendations. (Source: Salesforce) @salesforce

44. 78% of consumers will only engage offers if they have been personalized to their previous engagements with the brand. (Source: Infosys) @infosys

45. Only 22% of shoppers are satisfied with the level of personalization they currently receive. (Source: Segment) @segment

46. 77% of people sort through their mail immediately (Source: USPS) @USPS

47. 70% of consumers say direct mail is more personal than online interactions. (Source: Fundera) @fundera

Key Things to Remember About Personalization:

Personalization has a huge effect on how consumers interact with a brand. They want to feel like brands are remember how they engage with them and using that data to inform future marketing materials that they send to them. 

Direct mail is a channel that benefits heavily from being highly personalized. Campaigns are addressed specifically to recipients and using Postalytics, you can inject personalized consumer data into any campaign that you deliver. 

Direct Mail Delivers Opportunity

These direct mail stats should help marketers understand the proven, well understood benefits of including direct mail in the mix of channels utilized throughout the customer journey.

For companies that aren’t currently leveraging direct mail in their marketing strategies, it does present a serious opportunity. You can use to for direct lead generation campaigns, nurture currently existing leads, and deliver high-value resources that your prospects are likely to hold onto. 

Using Postalytics, you can create, send, track, and integrate direct mail campaigns with your broader marketing strategies and existing digital campaigns.