Paper Matters Blog
What’s in Your Mailbox?

If you’re like most people, you can’t wait to find out each day. Studies show we care what’s inside.

Do you look forward to getting your mail each day? If so, you’re in good company. A 2016 study by the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) found that most consumers pick up and sort their mail at the earliest opportunity, and many people are excited to see what they’ll find when they open the mailbox.

In an era of increasing reliance on email, social media and other digital communications, we are surprisingly attached to our mail. This is true whether you’re a baby boomer, a millennial or somewhere in between. In fact, the USPS survey found that more than 75 percent of respondents across all age groups value the privacy, reliability and security of mail.

The survey also found that most people sort and scan their mail daily, with millennials spending more time with their mail than any other age group. People also prefer to receive paper bills and statements versus receiving them online. And, not surprisingly, more than 80 percent of respondents enjoy finding handwritten notes, letters or greeting cards in their mailbox.

The clear message is that we’re happy to find mail in our mailboxes each day, even if it’s just a bill or print marketing, and we’d miss it if it went away. The mail may be a traditional method of communication, but it remains effective, reliable and important for consumers and corporations alike.

This is especially evident in two areas: greeting cards and direct mail marketing. Both industries are thriving in spite of our society’s increasing demand for digital communication.

Greeting Cards

There’s something special about opening your mailbox to find a birthday card or holiday greeting from a loved one. Sure, an electronic greeting card might look the same and offer the same greeting, but it’s just not the same as a printed card that someone took the time to sign and address just for you.

Americans purchase 6.5 billion greeting cards each year, with annual retail sales between $7 billion and $8 billion, according to the Greeting Card Association. Ninety percent of households buy greeting cards every year, with the average household purchasing 30 individual cards annually.

Greeting cards are an inexpensive, tangible way to let someone know you’re thinking about him or her, and they’re worth the effort: The majority of respondents in the USPS survey say they value (81 percent) and save (60 percent) personal correspondence.

Print Marketing

Direct mail or print marketing may not seem as personal as a greeting card, but we still enjoy getting this type of mail in our mailbox, especially when it’s personalized via variable data printing. The USPS survey showed that 87 percent of respondents would rather receive direct mail marketing than telemarketing, and 62 percent would rather scan printed mail for something useful rather than email.

Canada Post study explains why print marketing is effective:

  • Direct mail marketing generates 29 percent higher brand recall than digital advertising.
  • Online pre-roll video ads hold a customer’s attention 57 percent longer when they are followed by direct mail.
  • Combining direct mail marketing with display ads result in 46 percent higher brand recall than a display ad-only campaign.
  • Integrated campaigns drive 39 percent more attention than single-media campaigns.

Other studies show that people spend an average of 25 minutes with direct mail pieces, and 92 percent of young shoppers prefer direct mail when making purchasing decisions.

Hang on to Your Mailbox

Print and mail aren’t dead, and they’re not likely to go anywhere for a long, long time. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t challenges ahead.

In cooperation with the Envelope Manufacturers Association, we are working to ensure that the USPS remains as vital tomorrow as it is today. A financially stable postal service is vital to the domestic printing, mailing and paper industries, and it’s important for consumers to continue receiving the six-day mail services they’ve come to rely on over the decades.

About The Author

Customer & Brand Marketing Director

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