12 Direct Mail Statistics You Should Know in 2021

Updated on December 16, 2020

Direct Mail Statistics: Overview

  1. Direct mail spend—at $38.5 billion—accounts for the largest portion of US local advertising spend.
  2. US advertisers spend an average of $167 per person on direct mail.
  3. These US advertisers also earn an average $2,095 worth of goods sold through direct mail per person.
  4. 70% of consumers say direct mail is more personal than online interactions.
  5. 54% of consumers say they want direct mail from brands that interest them.
  6. Direct mail open rates can reach up to 90%.
  7. 42% of recipients read or scan the direct mail they receive.
  8. Direct mail response rates are five to nine times higher than any other advertising channel.
  9. The average direct mail response rate for prospect lists was 4.9% last year.
  10. Adding a name to your direct mail piece can increase response rates by 135%.
  11. 62% of consumers who responded to direct mail in the past three months made a purchase.
  12. 39% of consumers try a business for the first time because of direct mail.

 

Direct mail statistics tell a story of an enduringly—and even increasingly—successful marketing channel. Though direct mail marketing still carries a connotation of out-datedness, thanks mostly to the “snail mail” it involves, direct mail success statistics are still indisputable. Direct mail works. And if you’re still not convinced, we suggest you take a look at the numbers.

Here are the 12 most surprising direct mail marketing statistics to convince you of this long-standing marketing tactic:

Is Direct Mail Dead? These 12 Statistics Say No

Here are 12 direct mail statistics that might change your perception of non-digital marketing:

1. Direct mail spend—at $38.5 billion—accounts for the largest portion of US local advertising spend.

More than any other local advertising channel, direct mail is being invested in. The Mail Shark shared a direct mail statistic that proves this: Direct mail spend reaches a whopping $38.5 billion in local advertising spend. [1]

2. US advertisers spend an average of $167 per person on direct mail. [2]

Broken down person-by-person, direct mail spending is still pretty impressive: Direct mail statistics from Small Business Trends indicate that advertisers in the US spend an average of $167 per person on direct mail campaigns. [2] That is a huge investment per receiver, so advertisers must really believe in direct mail success.

3. These US advertisers also earn an average $2,095 worth of goods sold through direct mail per person.

And for good reason. Though US advertisers are spending a huge amount per person on direct mail marketing, they’re seeing an even bigger return. According to Small Business Trends, direct mail marketing earns an average of $2,095 in revenue per person. That’s a 1,300% return on investment. [2]

4. 70% of consumers say direct mail is more personal than online interactions.

Small Business Trends also revealed that most consumers feel that direct mail is more personal than online interactions. In fact, 70% of consumers feel this way. [2] If you’re trying to add a personal touch to your brand’ marketing tactics, then direct mail could very well be the way to do so.

5. 54% of consumers say they want direct mail from brands that interest them.

Does a potential customer show signs of interest in your brand? Odds are, they’ll be hospitable to the idea of receiving direct mail from you. A direct mail statistic from Triadex Services shares that 54% of consumers say they want direct mail from brands that interest them. [3]

6. Direct mail open rates can reach up to 90%. [4]

You read right—according to Inkit, open rates for direct mail campaigns can be as high as 90% [3]. Compare that direct mail statistic to the open rate for your most recent email campaign, and you’ll understand how astronomically high it is.

7. 42% of recipients read or scan the direct mail they receive.

And recipients don’t simply open the direct mail they receive from businesses. Many of them read what they open, too. Forbes reports that 42% of recipients either read or scan the direct mail they receive. [5]

8. The average direct mail response rate for prospect lists was 4.9% last year. [6]

Data Targeting Solutions reported another surprising direct mail statistic: The average response rate for direct marketing campaigns was 4.9% last year. And that’s the highest it’s been since their report started in 2003. [6] It seems that, as email marketing campaigns become more and more common, the novelty of direct mail could become more enticing for consumers.

9. Direct mail response rates are five to nine times higher than any other advertising channel.

To put that 42% response rate into context, consider this next direct mail statistic: That response rate is about five to nine times higher than any other advertising channel. [6] If your business has a brilliant, persuasive copywriter, then your response rate could reach even higher.

10. Adding a name to your direct mail can increase response rates by 135%.

But deciding to go ahead with a direct mail marketing campaign is only the first step: You’ll also need to make sure you’re doing it well. For an easy optimization, try adding a name to your pieces of direct mail. The Mail Shark found that adding a name to your direct mail increases response rates by 135%. [1] That’s more than double the response, simply because you took the time to find and add recipient names.

11. 62% of consumers who responded to direct mail in the past three months made a purchase.

Another direct mail statistic from Small Business Trends showed that 62% of consumers who responded to direct mail campaigns within the past three months also made a purchase. [2] So, that higher response rate that direct mail leads to is just a step toward a huge conversion rate.

12. 39% of consumers try a business for the first time because of direct mail.

Finally, if you’re looking to break into a new market, then direct mail could very well be the horse you ride in on. The US Data Corporation found that 39% of consumers try a new business out for the first time as a result of receiving direct mail from them. [7]

Direct Mail Statistics: The Bottom Line

There you have it—12 direct mail statistics that might make you rethink “snail mail” marketing. All in, if your small business isn’t investing in direct mail marketing campaigns, it’s time to start considering it. The numbers don’t lie—in the digital age, consumers are responding well to the novelty of tangible, mailed marketing materials. Is your business listening to this preference? Or are you just offering more emails that go straight to the spam folder?

Direct Mail Statistics: Resources

  1. https://www.themailshark.com/resources/articles/is-direct-mail-dead/
  2. https://smallbiztrends.com/2017/01/direct-mail-marketing-statistics.html
  3. https://www.triadexservices.com/direct-mail-marketing/direct-mail-is-an-effective-tool-for-businesses/
  4. https://inkit.io/2018/05/31-essential-direct-mail-marketing-automation-statistics/
  5. https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesagencycouncil/2019/05/03/the-secret-sauce-behind-direct-mails-resurgence/#4a368ad9cf69
  6. https://www.datatargetingsolutions.com/blog/2018/11/16/20-direct-mail-statistics-for-2019
  7. https://www.usdatacorporation.com/blog/2016/11/marketing-101-what-is-direct-marketing/

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Maddie Shepherd
Contributing Writer at Fundera

Maddie Shepherd

Maddie Shepherd is a former Fundera senior staff writer and current contributing writer for Fundera. 

Maddie has an extensive knowledge of business credit cards, accounting tools, and merchant services, but specializes in small business financing advice. She has reviewed and analyzed dozens of financial tools and providers, helping business owners make better financial decisions. 

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