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USPS Study Shows Households Still Value Mail

The USPS recently published their FY2015 Household Diary Study and once again it affirms the value of mail when it is prepared with a properly targeted message and delivered with a complete, correct, and current address.

The Household Diary Study, initiated in 1987, is conducted done annually and published by the USPS. One of its purposes is to measure the open and read rate of Standard Mail, the 84 percent of annual mail volume that is sent or received by households in the United States. In 2015, that meant 119.9 billion pieces.

While advertising mail holds its ground in terms of volume, there continues to be a steady decline in mail use for personal correspondence and bill payment. In fact, over the past decade, there has been a significant shift in bill payment. In 2005, 67 percent of bills were paid via mail. Ten years later, that same amount (66 percent) is now done online.

The study also shows a strong correlation between mail volume and household income and education level. In short, the higher the household income level and education, the more mail that is received. Households that receive 12 or less pieces of mail per week had an average annual income of only $26,248. However, households that had an average annual income of $88,137 received three to four times more mail. This clearly shows that marketers are astutely leveraging household data, such as the data services BCC provides, when preparing direct marketing pieces.

Direct mail, as a share of total advertising, continues to stay relatively flat, fluctuating between 10 and 12 percent over the past 25 years. Despite the introduction of new and fast-growing marketing channels, mail still continues to have a strong return on investment. Direct mail’s ROI is likely due to the high open and read rate. The study showed that 75 percent of households either read or scan the advertising mail sent to them.

These are just some of the highlights from the recent Household Diary Study. Packed within its nearly 400 pages are numerous statistics broken down by classes of mail sent, demographics of the households, Internet usage, and copies of the survey instruments used. I encourage everyone to take a look at the recent HDS and perhaps consider leveraging some of these important trends as you seek to expand your mailing services into marketing services with assistance from BCC Software. Just let us know, how can we help?