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Direct Mail National Fact Sheet

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Despite the growth of electronic communications, the mail – including direct mail – remains an important vehicle for commerce and information exchange in the United States.

Making the U.S. Postal Service Possible…

  • For television, newspapers, radio, and online communications, advertising provides much of the revenue that makes the delivery of other content possible. The same is true for the U.S. Postal Service (USPS).
  • Advertising mail currently provides a third of the revenue of the USPS and helps support its daily operations and provide a universal, reliable, and affordable method of communication for all American households, businesses, and nonprofit organizations.
  • The USPS provides six-days-per-week service to more than 146 million separate delivery points across the nation – a complex and expensive undertaking that is made possible by the significant contributions of advertising mail to USPS revenues.

Driving Economic Growth…

  • Advertising mail offers a cost-effective entry into the market for small businesses looking to introduce themselves to local customers. It offers larger businesses that bring jobs to small towns and rural areas a way to reach broader audiences.
  • According to DMA’s most recent economic impact study (2007), businesses like direct mail because it offers a significant return on investment.
    • In 2006, every dollar spent on catalog marketing generated an average return on investment of $7.22.
    • Every dollar spent for non-catalog direct mail generated an average return on investment of $15.57.
  • Last year, advertising mail contributed more than $686 billion in increased sales to the US economy and played a critical role in the success of our country’s businesses, large and small alike, as well as nonprofit organizations.
  • According to USPS figures, 300,683 small businesses generated more than 20.8 billion pieces of mail in 2007 to support their businesses.

Advertising mail accounts for millions of jobs in the US.

  • According to DMA research, 459,500 people were directly employed in direct mail marketing in 2007.
  • Another 3.1 million US jobs were made possible in 2007 by direct mail marketing – jobs for the people making goods to be sold, the workers who provide the paper and printing services to create advertising mail, the customer service and warehouse workers who coordinate mail orders and to the postal workers who deliver advertising mail and the packages it generates.
  • The printing industry in the US has more than 39,000 companies employing over 1 million people. Total printing shipments in the US in 2006 were over $171 billion. It is estimated that nationally 45 to 47% of printing is entered into the mailstream.
  • The pulp and paper industry in the US employs more than 485,000 people and produces revenue of $2.3 billion.
  • – The US Postal Service employs nearly 683,000 people whose jobs depend on a strong viable postal system

updated: April 8, 2008