Direct Mail 2021: The Rise in Demand

While some sectors have suffered as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, direct mail has bucked the trend, experiencing a year-on-year increase of 11%. Research has revealed each piece of direct mail has been interacted with more than 4.5 times, a record high, during the past 12 months.

The survey by Jicmail suggests the trend is set to continue into 2021, with early indications pointing to all areas of direct mailing experiencing growth. Each piece of mail had an in-home lifespan of up to 9.5 days in 2020, while the media impressions generated by door-drops increased by a massive 45%, compared with the same period in 2019.

Direct Mail

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Increased frequency

The viewing frequency for door-drops has increased 3.19 times, while the figure rises to 4.87 times for business mail. All areas have seen an improvement, with overall mail interaction up by 14%.

Government door-drops have also performed well during the pandemic and lockdowns, with interaction for each piece of direct mail rising to 4.21 times. Charities too are using more door-drops during the lockdowns, increasing them by 4%.

These surprisingly positive figures mean direct mail services have helped sectors such as mail order and financial services to remain resilient going into 2021, despite the lockdowns that began in March 2020. The most negatively impacted sectors during the pandemic have been travel, tourism and leisure facilities.


Why is direct mail booming?

Analysts say the fact more people are at home due to the national lockdowns is directly linked to the increased boost for direct mail. Businesses using direct mail during the pandemic have found it is more successful than email because people are spending much more time at home.

Using direct mail marketing during the Covid-19 pandemic is improving the profile of businesses, as people often have a full inbox and can easily skim past emails without really noticing. People are also applying more stringent online security protection because they are being bombarded with emails. Digital marketing material may end up in the “spam” folder if it’s seen as junk mail by the filters.

Another consequence of spending more time at home online is visual fatigue, or “digital fatigue”, when people are reporting eye strain as a result. They experience physical discomfort after prolonged exposure to a screen including a computer, laptop, or tablet. These factors mean online marketing may be less effective.


Benefits of physical mail

Receiving physical mail can be the preferred option, as a leaflet on the dining table is something you may casually pick up and read when having your breakfast or lunch. Its contents may stick in your mind and make you want to find out more.

Direct mail is also a good method to notify customers and businesses about changes. As the pandemic continues to disrupt our daily life, consumers’ priorities are constantly changing, so they want businesses to deliver all their expectations.

When the going gets tough, people expect companies to make it easier by providing all the information they need in a convenient and timely manner. In fact, surveys have revealed 64% of consumers in the UK say it will have a big impact on their buying habits in the future if a business responds well to the pandemic.

In addition, 88% of consumers want up to date and clear details on how they can access a company’s products and services during these challenging times. Receiving direct mail, such as a leaflet from a trusted company, will make 61% of consumers feel “comforted”.

Surely everyone in Britain must remember a marketing campaign once voted the best of all time: the Manchester Evening News’ slogan, “It’s a friend dropping in.”? This is how consumers want to feel while they’re stuck at home; so a well-written, well-presented leaflet, carrying up to date, relevant information, can make them feel someone understands their needs and that we haven’t forgotten about them.


What businesses are using direct mail?

Many types of businesses are using direct mail marketing in 2021, choosing external services such as a mailing house. A professional company will organise marketing, freeing up your time to manage the day-to-day of your business.

Research shows 74% of adults spend an average of 22 minutes reading mail every day. In a digital world, where online viewers tend to flit from screen to screen in a matter of seconds, this is an attractive proposition for companies.

Some new businesses who have been introduced to marketing this way have experienced results little short of spectacular. In fact, data from Whistl shows many businesses using direct mailing during lockdown have experienced their best ever results.

Furniture retailers have enjoyed an 11% increase in online sales by using door-drops, even though their high street stores are closed. In addition, a national charity reported receiving £37,000 donations by telephone in the week after its latest direct mail campaign.

Food retailers reported a 40% increase in sales in the weeks following direct mailing activity and also saw an average improvement of 37% in cost-efficiency as a result of using this type of marketing.


What does this mean for 2021?

Business analysts studying 2020 data say it has been an “extraordinary time” in terms of consumer behaviour and media consumption. While there have been many reports about the acceleration of digital media, the latest data shows all direct mail channels have felt the benefits of better frequency, reach and longevity in the home.

Campaigns that are currently live indicate that there is no better time than the new year to plan a door-drop or mail campaign. Judging by the trends for 2020, it looks like 2021 will continue in the same vein, with another projected rise in direct mail and its success.