GDPR fuels 30% fall in direct mail but relevance rises

young person direct mail 2GDPR’s effect on direct mail volumes is far worse than previously reported, with a 30% reduction in mailshots received by UK households, equivalent to 2.8 billion fewer items across the country every year.

So says a new study compiled using Wilmington Millennium’s direct mail tracker, which is in sharp contrast to Royal Mail’s statistics which show an 8% drop in volumes and a 6% fall in spend.

However, there is an upside, with Wilmington Millennium also showing that nearly half (45%) of consumers now believe the mail they receive is far more relevant.

Before the introduction of the new regulation, Wilmington Millennium’s historic data shows that on average households received 9.9 billion items of advertising mail a year (seven per week, per household). However, since GDPR came into force last May this has gone down to 7.1 billion or five items of direct mail per household, per week.

Households in Leeds, Brighton and Plymouth were found to have experienced the largest reduction in volumes, with drops of 53%, 50% and 46% respectively. All other areas of the UK also experienced reductions except for residents in Sheffield, who experienced a 10.2% increase.

People in Liverpool (3.82 pieces per week), Norwich (3.99) and Newcastle (4.14 ) currently receive the least amount of direct mail, while those in Sheffield (6.48 pieces per week), London (5.44) and Birmingham (5.36) receive the most.

Historically the figures show that before GDPR areas receiving the most were Leeds (9.88 pieces per week), Brighton (9.49) and London (8.01) and the least were Sheffield (5.88 pieces per week), Bristol (6.23) and Southampton (6.61).

Wilmington Millennium Mortascreen product director Patrick Lymath said: “We all knew that GDPR was going to have an impact on mail volumes and this has already been proven by Royal Mail figures.

“However, this research is interesting as it is based on what consumers themselves say they receive. It is heartening that the reduction is converting into perceived relevance with 45% of consumers reporting that the advertising mail they receive is more relevant since GDPR.

“As a result of this we are increasingly seeing new brands testing the channel such as Just Eat and historic direct mail users return to the channel. Perception among marketers is also changing – effectiveness is now not tied to volume, it is tied to response which is an incredibly positive step change for the sector.”

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