Launching a direct mail marketing campaign? Hold your horses! In order to make sure your mail advertising pays off, you need to consider numerous factors. First of all, research your target audiences, average mail response rates, and identify the right balance between mail and digital marketing for your needs. In this respect, referring to direct mail statistics is a life-saver. Based on analysis of the aggregate data, you will better understand the overall situation with mail marketing to weigh the pros and cons – and Return on Investment. After all, plans and creative ideas should always be backed up with reliable marketing statistics.

To help you with the statistical investigation, Inkit has collected a range of postcards statistics. This data was published over the last decade to channel marketing efforts of direct mail proponents. It reflects the resurgence of mail advertising and its increasing role in omnichannel and cross-channel marketing. In this overview, you’ll learn how to measure and test a separate direct mail campaign upon its launch.

Direct Mail Statistics Cheat Sheet

Direct Mail Statistics – Mail Response Rate and Popularity

  • In 2018, the average response rate of direct mail amounted to 4.9% for prospect lists and 9% for house lists. This is significantly higher than in 2017, with 2.9% and 5.1% respectively (ANA/DMA response rate report 2018).

House lists comprise people who have already bought or ordered from you. Prospect lists are your potential customers who are likely to use your services.

  • Compared to the 9% house lists response rate, email, paid search, and social media have only a 1% response rate (ANA/DMA response rate report 2018).
  • Advertising cards, catalogs, or flyers made 31% of baby boomers purchase a service or product. In this case, direct mail outperformed online consumer reviews, recommendations from friends and family, TV ads, email, and other marketing channels. (Marketing Charts).
  • Consumers claim that they are 46% more likely to respond to an offer from a familiar company. You can use direct mail to familiarize people with your services and make other marketing channels more effective. Direct mail has a higher response rate than digital marketing, so it’s an excellent first point of touch (Tax Marketing HQ).
  • Direct mail continues to remain among the most popular marketing tactics with print advertisements taking 35% (B2B Marketing Mix Report).
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  • B2B marketers still make large investments in traditional marketing methods including direct mail. Top areas of marketing spend comprise website development (63%), tradeshows & events (53%), digital marketing (47%), social media (29%), and direct marketing & print advertising (25%) (B2B Marketing Mix Report). Nevertheless, highly qualified marketers usually strive to combine and align several marketing channels to create a multichannel or omnichannel marketing strategy. Using three or more channels they manage to achieve a 250% higher purchase and engagement rate than in the case of single-channel marketing (Omnichannel marketing automation statistics for 2019).
  • Print advertising (8%) and direct mail (6%) are listed among top sources generating sales and marketing leads (B2B Marketing Mix Report).
  • 78% of executives and marketers (51% of whom are B2B businesses) claim that integrated, branded, and personalized direct mail is a highly effective channel. Non-personalized direct mail gets 61% of credits compared to 55% social media (Marketing Charts). The gap between personalized and non-personalized pieces of mail proves that personalization matters. By the way, 70% of Americans think that direct mail is more personal than Internet advertising (Data & Marketing Analytics).

Direct Mail Statistics – Pieces of Mail: Behavioral Patterns and Format

  • Mail marketing has a more long-lasting effect than online ads or emails. 27% of UK consumers still keep mail within a household after twenty-eight days (2018 Direct Mail Facts and Figures).
  • Speaking of mail marketing, postcard statistics is the most promising. 52.5% of potential recipients claim they will read a postcard, whereas a letter-size envelope will be open in 1/3 cases (Data & Marketing Analytics).
  • Having received addressed mail, 57% of consumers open it, 48.5% take a glance at it, 26.2% throw it away or recycle, and 24% put it aside to check later. 1.6% of responders even put mail on display which makes it even more memorable (2018 Direct Mail Facts and Figures).
  • The situation with door drops significantly differs from addressed direct mail. Only 5.7% of recipients open it. 60.5% take a glance to decide what to do and striking 85.5% throw the mail away or recycle.

TIP. Personalization is critical for direct mail success. Yet it’s quite difficult to achieve without automation. Inkit allows you to use variable data printing to adapt every mail piece based on the personal information of recipients. Moreover, you can integrate Inkit with a CRM to form your mailing list using reliable and detailed customer data.

  • The behavioral patterns also vary depending on the mail type. Catalogs are the most likely to be set aside for later and read. 46% of recipients discard mail related to credit cards, which is the highest number compared to catalogs (20%) and other mail (27%) (DMA, Statistical Fact Book).
  • On Sundays, people are three times less likely to expect direct mail than on the other days of the week (2018 Direct Mail Facts and Figures).
  • Personal letters from someone recipients know are among the direct mail favorites with 97% positive reaction. A birthday, holiday, or greeting cards have a 96% chance for success, a package – 89%, a catalog – 57%, and an advertising card – 27% (GALLUP).

Direct Mail Statistics – Total Mail Volume

  • The number of catalogs mailed per year was steadily decreasing, having reached 9,412 million in 2017 (DMA, Statistical Fact Book).
  • Direct mail is the most commonly used by financial & insurance services (89%), non-profit organizations (75%), publishing or media (73%), banks (68%), healthcare or pharmaceuticals (65%), B2B services (58%), consumer packaged goods (56%), retail (56%), and travel & hospitality (50%) (DMA, Statistical Fact Book).
  • The total mail volume is predicted to increase by 0.4% by the end of this year. Nevertheless, the trends for B2B and B2C mail marketing differ. Total B2C mail volume is estimated to grow by 1% per year, whereas B2B will decline by 3-4% annually (Trend And Future of Direct Mail).
  • It turns out that college graduates receive more direct mail than households with a lower level of education. In particular, out of 4.8 million households that get 45> pieces of mail per week, 59% are college graduates, 15% have some college or tech school, and 18% are high school graduates (DMA, Statistical Fact Book).

Direct Mail Statistics – Cost of Mail Marketing and Total Expenditures

  • During the recent decade, the average marketing spend on direct mail has ranged from 44 to 47 billions of US dollars (DMA, Statistical Fact Book).
  • The direct mail cost per acquisition amounts to $26.4 per house and $31.1 per prospect (DMA, Statistical Fact Book).

TIP. If you want to decrease the acquisition cost, you can use direct mail automation functionality offered by Inkit. After you create a mail piece using a custom template builder, Inkit will print and mail it across the United States or worldwide within 3-6 business days.

  • With 44.2 billion dollars, direct mail took second place among offline marketing spends in the US. The first place was taken by teleservices than accounted for up to 45 billion dollars.

How to Use Postcard Statistics with Maximum Effectiveness?

Direct mail industry statistics is a useful resource to see how other companies benefit from direct mail marketing. You won’t need to reinvent the wheel when you can learn from the existing practices. The statistics provide insights into marketing gaps and hints on how to outperform competitors in 2019-2020. Here are several helpful tips:

  • Being a great medium for promotion, catalogs boast a high response rate and popularity among consumers. You should definitely consider them to present your assortment if you sell products.
  • Since people don’t expect to receive pieces of mail on Sundays, make sure to deliver everything on business days.
  • Addressed mail is much more likely to be read and noticed than door drops. Therefore, try your best to personalize direct mail and adapt it based on customer preferences.
  • Prefer postcards over letter-size envelopes to provide brief information about your company. Postcards are more likely to be read.
  • People love birthday and greeting cards because such mail makes them feel valued. Don’t forget about special occasions of your existing and potential customers and send them a nice postcard.
  • Launch an omnichannel marketing campaign combining direct mail with digital marketing. In 2019-2020, such a marketing approach is crucial for your business success.

Besides, to receive more customized data, you will need to collect your own statistics. To avoid spending a lot of money on an ineffective direct mail campaign, make sure to conduct A/B testing. Use Inkit’s postcard builder to create pieces of mail you would like to try out. Don’t forget to add a QR code, special discount code, or phone number to track mail advertising effectiveness. Send the mail pieces to similar target audiences and collect the results. With the unlimited batch size offered by Inkit you can deliver anything from a few postcards to millions of leaflets. Once you collect the results of the test campaigns, you can calculate the mail response rate and ROI for each of them. This will allow you to see which type of mail marketing yields more benefits for investment.

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