Direct mail beats off CRM, AI and VR to reach $72.67bn

ikea2The direct mail industry continues to defy the doom-mongers, with the global market for mailshot production – excluding media spend – set to be worth $72.67bn (£54bn) in 2022, nearly double that of CRM spend ($42bn), machine learning and analytics ($21bn) and even the Metaverse’s virtual reality ($19bn).

So says the Direct Mail Advertising Global Market Report 2022, published by The Business Research Company, which reveals that, although growth is modest (up just 2%) from last year, there is still plenty of life in the old dog yet.

While the print market has seen huge consolidation in recent years – the study cites RR Donnelley, Valassis, Dai Nippon and Harte Hanks as major players – brand owners are increasingly turning to data and insight companies to supplement their first-party data for mailing campaigns.

In the UK, direct mail media spend has also recovered rapidly from the Covid pandemic; this week’s Advertising Association/WARC Expenditure Report revealed that mailshots have witnessed substantial growth, up 23.4% in Q3 and forecast to rise 6.8% for the year.

Figures released late last year by Jicmail, the industry benchmarking scheme, show record levels of mobile digital activity driven by direct mail, door drops and business mail, signalling the deepening relationship between physical and digital channels.

The Q3 2021 report revealed the effectiveness of mail at driving consumers to use their tablets or smartphones increased by 11% year on year, while the two year growth trend revealed an increase of 41%.

Mail volumes received by the Jicmail panel continued to increase as the market rebounds from the pandemic. Door drops witnessed the stand-out growth, recording an 18% increase in volumes year on year, driven by a rebound in travel and tourism activity in the summer months, and an increase in activity in the telecoms sector as the likes of BT, Virgin Media and TalkTalk jostle for market share.

Meanwhile, Royal Mail recently rolled out a new programme of incentives, designed to support the growth and retention of the letters market, backing the move to help the sector continue to recover from Covid-19.

At the time, Strategic Mailing Partnership chair Judith Donovan said: “It is great news that these incentives are being extended into 2022, as well as the introduction of new ones, as this will continue to boost our members’ activity and see the sector continue to recover. It is still as timely as ever to utilise the power of mail.”

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