My colleagues, Ashley Leone and Debora Haskel, have written several pieces recently about how the millennial generation views direct mail (very positively, by the way). A recent “mail moments” study sponsored by the U.S. Postal Service and conducted by Summit Research looked at behavior and mail habits related to retrieving and sorting mail. This March 2016 survey engaged 1,545 male and female heads of household whose age and ethnic distributions matched the U.S. Census.
The findings are particularly interesting for what they tell us about overall attitudes toward mail, especially when comparing millennials, Gen Xers and boomers:
- Overall mail engagement has increased since 2012, and millennials are at least as engaged with the mail as non-millennials.
- Regardless of age, most consumers get their mail as soon as possible and then sort it at the first opportunity (usually the same day). This indicates a high value of mail.
- Though they receive less mail overall, millennials spend more time sorting their mail and are more active consumers of mail.
When asked whether they like to discover what the mail brings every day or if they don’t give mail much attention, 47% of respondents said they like to discover what is in the mail and consider time with mail to be time well spent. Another 34% leaned toward the “like to discover” response. When parsed by generation, the results show millennials enjoy receiving mail even more than non-millennials.
Although millennials receive slightly fewer pieces of mail each month compared to their non-millennial counterparts (27.2 pieces on average for millennials vs. 31.2 pieces for boomers), millennial heads-of-household are more likely to bring in the household mail (84% vs. 81% for older generations) and pick it up at the first opportunity (89% vs. 84%). In addition, millennials are just as likely as older households to sort their mail as soon as they get it and are the most likely generation to be the one responsible to sort advertising mail compared to consumers in older households.
Millennials are more likely to scan mail (rather than just discard it without reading), organize it and show it to others than older consumers. They spend more time sorting mail than others (9.2 minutes for millennials vs. 7.5 minutes for Gen Xers) and appear more engaged with mail than the average consumers.
Advertising Mail Preferred Over Other Marketing Channels
Millennials also stated a preference for receiving mail rather than a telemarketing call (83%), and they also prefer receiving information via physical mail than email (67%). One of the most surprising intergenerational findings was that 54% of millennials said businesses in their neighborhoods need to do a better job of keeping them informed, while only 38% of the Gen Xers and 40% of boomers agreed. This led those conducting the survey to conclude businesses may be losing opportunities to sell to millennials if those businesses do not use mail.
This mail moments study demonstrates that millennials retain a positive view of all types of mail. Most importantly for direct marketers, advertising mail is likely to be viewed by millennials and is still an important way to reach this target audience.
Want to know more about how you can use mail to acquire, engage and retain millennial customers? Contact me or talk to your IWCO Direct account team.
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