Is a decline in DM volume a bad thing?

Royal Mail’s most recent figures show that letter volumes fell by six per cent in the three months to June 24 compared with the same period last year, a faster decline than the five per cent drop in the past financial year.

Letter revenue was also down seven per cent. It attributed the reduction to GDPR but said that the decline was not unexpected.

Whilst the decline is obviously not great news for the postal operator for the rest of the direct mail industry, I can’t help thinking that this is actually quite a good thing.

One of the objectives of GDPR is to give more control to customers over their personal information and reduce the amount of unwanted marketing. The fact that mail volumes have fallen is not surprising as a proportion of consumers have failed to opt back in to receive mail. But the ones that have are the ones worth having – they are the customers that are actively interested in having a relationship and receiving offers and information through the post. As a result direct mail is seeing a resurgence as a highly targeted, high quality channel which people are beginning to value again. Our research revealed that positive perception around DM has increased significantly over the past few years, and is continuing to do so. Moreover, we are seeing renewed interest in data hygiene and suppression as marketers continue to want to keep their data in tip-top condition and GDPR compliant. Direct mail has never been so well targeted and this can only be good news for consumers and the channel itself.