Direct mail is yet another form of media that has suffered the negative impact of the pandemic, with US marketers spending less on the channel as well as sending out fewer pieces of mail in 2020. This is per a report from Winterberry Group, which shows that direct mail volume fell by 18.1% in 2020.
This is not the first time that direct mail volume has declined. In 2019, volume fell by 5.5% year-over-year (y-o-y) to 77.8 million. That came after a slight increase in direct mail volume, of 1.4%, in 2018, reaching 82.3 million. However, what stands out in 2020 is the extent of the decrease. The drop of roughly 18% puts the number of pieces of advertising sent via mail down to 63.8 million.
Spending on direct mail, along with just about every other form of offline media, also experienced a relatively steep decrease in 2020 — down 17.2% over 2019 to $34.9 billion. What might be seen as good news is that media spend on direct mail is expected to be up 4.8% y-o-y in 2021. However, the forecast spending of $36.5 billion is still considerably less than the $41.2 billion spent in 2019.
In an age where marketers are more prone to explore digital ways of reaching customers, direct mail is still proving to be effective. Research by PFL found that, even during the pandemic, marketers were 18% more likely to see good or very good ROI when they included direct mail in their marketing mix than if they did not.
The same research also found that the majority of marketers surveyed reported a good or very good response rate when leveraging direct mail as part of their marketing mix.
Find the full report here.