UK consumers purchased over £25 billion ($39.47bn; €39.17bn) worth of goods and services through direct mail over the last year, according to new research published this week by the Direct Mail Information Service – 7.1% up on the 2001 figure of £23.4 billion.

With total 2001 direct mail expenditure rising to £2.228 billion and volume reaching 4.939 billion items, the direct mail medium continues to remain an integral part of the marketing communication mix for UK advertisers.

The new study polled consumers throughout the UK, 40% of whom had purchased as a result of direct mail, with the aggregate value of goods reaching £25.1 billion. UK consumers spent an average of just over £500 in the last year as a result of being mailed.

Of the total consumer outlay over 49% (or £12.4bn) is spent on clothes, underlining the strength of the mail order sector, which was responsible for mailing 504 million items in 2001.

Spend on electrical goods more than doubled reaching £4 billion, whilst spend on household items also grew to over £3 billion. Other sectors saw a decrease with spend on Travel/Holidays dropping to £0.2 billion from £3.7 in the previous year and collectibles share of the total spend down to 1% from 3.4%.

The research shows that some 52% of the overall total spend was generated by those in the ABC1 bracket with the remaining 48% from the C2DE segment.

Those in the 35-54 age bracket are most likely to purchase through direct mail with over half of the £25.1 billion being generated by this group. Geographically, consumers in the North continue to spend more through direct mail, accounting for 70% of the total, compared to the South.

Of the 40% who purchased through direct mail, 14% spent between £1 and £100 with 10% spending between £101 and £300. At the other end of the scale 1% said they had spent over £10,000 through the medium in the last year.

The DIMS is funded by the Royal Mail Group.

Data sourced from: Direct Mail Information Service (UK); additional content by WARC staff