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The cost-of-living crisis is fuelling changing behaviour among direct mail recipients

August 26, 2022

The cost-of-living crisis is fuelling changing behaviour among direct mail recipients, with a major increase in the number of households retaining their mail from financial services, utilities, and government advertisers for longer, filing it away for use at a later date. That is one of the key findings of the latest report from Jicmail, the data captured from a panel of a thousand households every month. In Q2 2022, the average piece of business mail was interacted with 4.8 times over a 28-day period; direct mail 4.4 times and door drops 3.0 times. Across all mail types, nearly three-quarters (73%) was either read or looked at – a measure of active mail engagement that has remained stable year on year. Some 44% of mail is still live in the home after 28 days – a significant increase on Q2 2021 an indication perhaps, that households are placing more importance on mail content in economically challenging times. Overall, 94% of mail is engaged with, with at least one “meaningful” physical interaction over a 28-day period. Some 20% of all mail is filed away in the home, while 3% is taken out of the home for further use. The sectors driving this increased desire to retain mail are government, financial services, and utilities – a trend pointing towards the increased relevance of these sectors for consumers in recent times. Across the five years of Jicmail tracking to date, there has been a 60% increase in the proportion of mail prompting advertiser website visits, providing further evidence that mail triggers an increasing blend of digital and physical effects for advertisers. Beyond the timely and serous nature of comms from government, financial services and utilities, advertisers from other more discretionary purchases have also fuelled growth in engagement with mail. The travel sector has experienced volume growth across direct mail, door-drops and business mail in the summer months and remains a high interest category despite the squeeze on household incomes. Jicmail director of data leadership and learning Ian Gibbs commented: “With household incomes being squeezed – particularly by rising energy bills, it is no surprise that consumers are keeping hold of mail from financial services, utilities and central/local government advertisers for longer. “In economically uncertain times, it is essential to speak to customers and prospects using highly trustworthy and credible channels. Increased retention rates, digital effectiveness and consistent and reliable engagement metrics all support the case for ad mail in this space.” Jicmail engagement director Mark Cross added: “With the quality of engagement and interaction a pivotal challenge for all brand owners in a cluttered media ecosystem these latest results show the stand-out levels achievable through mail across a full set of engagement and action KPIs, with the perceived value of mail in the home increasing. “The 60% rise in digital journeys driven by mail over the past five years of Jicmail data is a profound indicator of the change in relationships across physical mail and on-line experiences.”

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