According to new research from the Royal Mail-funded Direct Mail Information Service, UK consumers purchased over £26 billion ($45.08bn; €36.92bn) of goods via direct mail in the year to date, an increase of 4.7% on the same period in 2002.

The new study polled consumers throughout the country, 41% of whom had purchased as a result of direct mail, with the value of goods reaching £26.3bn. UK consumers spent an average of just over £577 each in the last year as a result of being mailed.

Of the £26.3bn, over 36% (£9.53bn) is spent on clothes, underlining the strength of the mail order sector, which was responsible for mailing 580 million items in 2002.

The amount spent on books and entertainment more than trebled in the past year, with the former now accounting for £4bn and the latter £0.6bn. The spend on electrical goods has declined to £1.8bn from £4bn in 2002, whilst items for household use have seen the largest decline in spend, down 73% on the 2002 figure to £0.9bn.

The research shows that some 62% of the overall total spend was generated by those in the ABC1 bracket with the remaining 38% from the C2DE segment.

Most likely to purchase through direct mail are those in the 35-54 age group, with 49% purchasing at least once in the last year. This compares to 38% among 16 to 34 year-olds and 37% for the 55+ age group. Northern-based consumers spend more via direct mail, accounting for 66% of the total compared to 34% in the South.

Of the 41% who purchased through the medium, 20% spent between £1 and £100 with 17% spending between £101 and £300. At the other end of the scale just one per cent claimed to have spent over £10,000 through the medium in the last year.

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