Direct Mail Statistics

Honestly, statistics are just fishy stinky unless you've collected them for yourself.
The Mailing Co

Discover the new way to get Direct Mail In The Mix


Here’s our gigantic collection of direct mail statistics collected from around the interwebs ready to quote in your reports and proposals. Take heed that there are a zillion different numbers for the same statistic depending on who asked, when they asked and what they asked. Where we can we’ve removed older numbers that aren’t worth keeping in the guide and noted where something might be out of date. And of course – loads of these stats come from folks whose job it is to sell you direct mail – just like us 🙂 

BUT SERIOUSLY… THESE STATS MEAN NOTHING!! GET YOUR OWN!!! Some of the brain stats are good, but the majority will be specific to direct mail tests that aren’t relevant to you.

1: Response Rates

Up & Up
Direct mail response rates are going up all the time and seemingly beat out digital.

  • Customer response rates have increased year-over-year by 43% and prospect response rates have more than doubled with 190% increase [DMA/USA]
  • Response rates for house lists on direct mail was 9% and a prospect list 5% [DMA/USA]
  • Mail response rates better the 2% response rate of combined digital channels (older stat from 2017) [DMA/USA]
  • Direct Mail’s response rate is 4.4% compared to email’s 0.12% (older stat from 2017) [DMA/USA]

2: Direct Mail Combined With Digital

Happy Partners
These two love each other.

  • 44% of marketers use three or more channels for their marketing efforts [DMA/USA]
  • Direct mail used together with digital converts 28% higher [DMA/USA]
  • Campaigns using DM + Digital experienced a 118% response rate compared to DM only [Merkle]
  • 51% of households prefer companies to use a combination of mail and email to stay in touch [USPS/USA]
  • Companies employing multichannel marketing experience 300% higher effectiveness rates than those that use non-integrated campaigns [Heinz]
  • Nearly 60 percent of multichannel marketers spend more on non digital than digital, citing non-digital channels as key to their success and effectiveness [Heinz]
  • Marketers using direct mail report higher overall effectiveness of their marketing vs every other non-digital channel measured [Heinz]
  • The vast majority of multichannel marketers (71.4%) plan to maintain or increase their use of direct mail into 2018 and beyond  [Heinz]
  • Non digital only channels are half as effective as combined on/offline channels [Heinz]

3: Direct Mail ROI

The Million Dollar Question
We are constantly asked about response rate and ROI. Our answer always has to be “It Depends” – it depends on targeting, timing, message, offer, other channel strategy etc. These folks reckon they have their stats nailed though.

  • ROI of the average DM campaign is 29% (2017 study – loses to social at 30%, but beats paid search and online display at 23% & 16%)  [DMA/USA]
  • U.S. advertisers spend $167 per person on direct mail to earn $2,095 worth of goods sold; a 1,300% return (ancient stat, but impressive!) – Print Drives Commerce 2013
  • The average ROI for direct mail campaigns is between 18 and 20 percent [Canada Post Study]

4: Direct Mail for Millenials

Millennials Like
A few statistics abound for the millennial attitude to direct mail

  • Spend nearly twice as much time sorting and reading their mail compared to any other age group [USPS]
  • 47 percent of millennials actually check their physical mailbox each day [USPS]
  • Nearly 80% of millennials say they engage with direct mail [Keypoint]
  • 84% of millennials take the time to look through their mail and 64% would rather scan for useful information in printed mail than email [USPS]
  • 95% of 18-29-year-olds have a positive response to receiving personal cards and letters. Clever direct mail marketing taps into this emotional pull [Gallup]

5: Cognition & Retention

Easy on the Brain
Looks like it’s easier to look at direct mail than reading teeny tiny text on phone screens, who knew? Direct Mail Statistics to make you go hmmmmm.

  • Direct mail uses 21% less cognitive effort to process than digital media [Canada Post Study]
  • Brand recall was 70% higher among participants who were exposed to direct mail ads rather than to digital ones [Canada Post Study]
  • Nearly 80% of millennials say they engage with direct mail [Keypoint]
  • 84% of millennials take the time to look through their mail and 64% would rather scan for useful information in printed mail than email [USPS]
  • Direct mail generates a motivation score – the unstoppable urge to have to buy something – that is 20 percent higher than digital media [Canada Post Study]
  • Printed mail has a 35% stronger response in the areas associated with long-term memory encoding than social media, and 49% compared to email (amazing study on cognitive effects of print) [MarketReach]
  • Consumers could recall a brand 75% of the time when they receive direct mail offers v 44% of the time when for digital-only versions [Canada Post Study]
  • 60% of respondents said recall of messaging was easier with physical mail [Royal Mail]
  • When asked to cite the brand (company name) of an advertisement they had just seen, recall was 70% higher among participants who has seen a direct mail piece [?]
  • Consumers who read about a fictitious company on heavy, high-quality coated paper felt better / recalled better than consumers who read on low quality paper or computer screen [Eagleman Lab]
  • The upswing in the use of direct mail and its enduring effectiveness is because “Giving, receiving and handling tangible objects remain deep and intuitive parts of the human experience.” [Royal Mail]
  • 57% of respondents said that postcard marketing creates a more valued, authentic relationship [Royal Mail]
  • The physicality of DM leaves “a deeper footprint in the brain,” [Millward Brown]
  • 76% of consumers trust direct mail when they’re making purchasing decisions [MarketingSherpa]
  • Postcards outperformed email in five out of nine tests. [USPS Study]

6: Physical Consumer Behaviour

Open it, display it, touch it
I don’t know how they know but they do. Direct mail statistics are a bit geeky.

  • 42% of consumers read or scan direct mail before they throw anything away [DMA]
  • 62% of American respondents actually enjoy checking their mailbox for mail [Epsilon]
  • Research found that 27% of direct mail is still ‘live’ within the household after 28 days [DMA]
  • Across all sectors, each piece of mail was seen by 1.2 people [Royal Mail]
  • Each mail piece was looked at 4.8 times and lived 8.9 days in the home [Royal Mail]
  • After receiving mail, 88/1000 people went online, mainly to view the sender’s website [Royal Mail]
  • 48/1000 people bought something or redeemed a voucher [Royal Mail]
  • 84% reported that personalisation increased desire to open [?]
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