Consumer Direct Mail – Just How Effective is it?

Fiona Bell
RSGB, United Kingdom
Nick Francis
Royal Mail, United Kingdom


Direct mail is defined as personally addressed advertising delivered through the post. In Great Britain the direct mail industry is booming, despite one of the worst recessions on record. In 1993, 904m was spent on direct mail (including production costs) and the sector accounted for 10.8% of all advertising expenditure. This is compared with 7.7% in 1983. Direct mail expenditure in the UK is almost certain to have breached the billion pound barrier in 1994. (see Figure 1)

Direct mail expenditure has increased by 215% since 1983 compared with 126% for all media. The average annual rate of increase between 1983 and 1992 was 14.5%, and was due partly to a greater concentration of advertisers on the quality and creativity of direct mail presentations. It is estimated that the direct mail industry generates more than 12bn worth of business every year.(see Figure 2)