Direct marketing in Great Britain is "an influential and immense industry", claims Mike Barnes, director of marketing and development at the UK Direct Marketing Association.

Introducing the DMA's analysis of the industry, The Economic Impact Analysis Study 2005, Barnes says: "The direct marketing industry has seen significant growth over recent decades yet we have never been able to prove the importance our industry plays within the UK economy.

These are the key items from the DMA report ...

  • Direct marketing generates £107 billion ($195.23bn; €155.53bn) of sales in the UK every year.

  • Consumers spend £67bn per annum via direct marketing channels, just under 9% of total consumer spend in the UK.

  • This is more money than is spent on clothes (£43bn), alcohol (£27bn) and furniture (£40bn), and comes just behind Britons' expenditure on eating out (£71bn).
    (WAMN comment: This appears to be a statistical non sequitur: Of the sums spent on the stated product sectors, a percentage of the spend - possibly a substantial one - will have been via DM channels.)

  • £20bn of sales generated by direct marketing comes from mail order/home shopping, £14bn by internet sales and £73bn through other channels.

  • Business-to-business direct marketing sales generate £40bn.

  • 814,000 staff are employed directly and indirectly by the direct marketing industry - nearly 2.9% of total employment in the UK. It employs more than post and telecoms (517,000 people) and hotels (300,000 people).
    (Again, a likely double-counting non sequitur.)

  • Over £14 billion was spent on direct marketing activities by companies in 2004.
Asked by WAMN to comment on the apparent double-counting, Barnes conceded: "There is some overlap in both areas as you say, as it is a cross industry comparison. Direct marketing is a ‘horizontal’ rather than ‘vertical’ sector and we are trying to get some comparative feeling – the point being for us that it still highlights the size and significance of the area of activity."

With the latest study off the blocks, the DMA plans a follow-up review of current and future expenditure trends in direct marketing.

Data sourced from DMA (UK); additional content by WARC staff