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Direct Mail Industry Findings: Our Review of The DMA Statistical Fact Book

Every year, marketing professionals specializing in single or multi-channel disciplines anxiously await the latest findings from The Data & Marketing Association (DMA) Statistical Fact Book, which is the industry’s ultimate resource for insights on consumer engagement and data-driven marketing. With nearly 300 pages of graphs, stats and key studies, the Fact Book is designed “to collect, curate and compile only the most essential statistics from across our base of over 1,400+ member brands, recognized industry leaders, and state-of-the data practitioners,” per In order to help businesses of all types keep an eye on recent trends in the direct mail market, Modern Postcard has summarized valuable commentary, expertise and learnings from the 2018 and 2017 editions.

The future continues to look bright for physical, tangible marketing: aka direct mail. The 2018 edition starts off strong with annotations that should make every direct marketer feel more confident, and make every digital marketer consider expanding their channels to incorporate print. “2018 promises to be exceptional for those including print in their marketing mix. With new print technologies and the ability to create segmentation strategies around the customer journey using real-time data, efficient, results-producing direct mail advertising is at every marketer’s fingertips.”

DMA 40th Edition Stat Book

How direct marketing effectively blends into today’s millennial world is another hot topic. DMA research shows that 84% of millennials take the time to look through their mail and 64% would rather scan for useful information in the mail than e-mail. This generation even believes paper mail is a more viable and reliable source of communication. As for preferred print formats, booklets and catalogs make a great visual impression and help drive both in store and online purchasing. According to the data, 41% of millennials and 53% of Gen Xers reported enjoying catalogs.

In reviewing similar stats from the 2017 and 2018 editions, there is a clear upward trend for direct mail as a channel. In fact, since 2015, customer response rates for direct mail have increased 37% and prospect response rates have more than doubled – reporting an astounding 190% increase.

Below, we’ve listed more intriguing findings as reported by the DMA and their diligent research. If you’re interested in owning and reading the latest report, it’s available for purchase here.

Direct Mail Marketing

  • 121.2 billion pieces of mail were received this year in U.S. households.
  • Direct mail for marketing acquisition increased 4% from 2016 to 2017, and for marketing retention it increased 3% during the same timeframe.
  • Out of a group of marketers surveyed about their use of direct mail, 58% reported utilizing it for both B2C and B2B audiences.
  • Direct mail was the second highest media category in which marketers planned to allocate their budgets in 2017. Overall, U.S. marketers invested $44.2 billion in marketing spend for direct mail.
  • In 2017, 46% of marketers surveyed reported they would keep their media usage of direct mail consistent in the next 12 months, while 35% reported they would increase their direct mail efforts.

Direct Mail Coupons

  • Shoppers redeemed $2.2 billion in coupons in the last year.
  • 36% of consumers reported that coupons, when casually discovered, motivated them to make a purchase in 2017.
  • In 2017, over 30% of consumers reported that they made higher-volume purchases after receiving coupons. Around 29% made accelerated purchases and about 27% made alternate brand purchases thanks to coupons.


  • Recent figures show an influx of new brands producing printed catalogs – and many marketers cite them as an integral part of their omnichannel strategy to drive purchasing behavior.
  • 42% of recipients reported reading catalogs received in the mail, with another 25% glancing through or saving catalogs for later.
  • Retailers have reported using catalogs 90.9% of the time as an effective marketing tool to reach their customers.
  • Brands continue to report catalog mailing as a way to drive web traffic, followed closely by customer retention and brand building.
  • 44.4% of marketers surveyed reported they increased catalog circulation in the last year, while 44.4% kept circulation consistent.
  • In 2017, printed standard-sized catalogs were produced nearly 33% more than digital catalogs.

Create Better Stats for Your Business
While direct mail marketing is powerful and proven, it also has many moving parts. Your success hinges on the partner you choose. Modern Postcard manages all the key elements of direct mail in house and skillfully guides clients from planning, to launch, to post-campaign analysis – all with personalized service and solutions tailored to your business.

By Modern Postcard

Call a Direct Marketing Specialist at 800.959.8365.

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