Does Direct Mail Still Work? 40 Direct Mail Statistics to Convince You it Does

direct mail statistics

“Direct mail is old-school, not used anymore, doesn’t work, too expensive…” we have heard it all. But here’s a little secret: all those beliefs are just myths. Here are 40 of our favorite direct mail statistics that will convince you physical mail can still shine in today’s digital marketing haze.

How effective is direct mail marketing?

Is direct mail effective? Absolutely. Consumers across all demographics respond to mail because our brains simply cannot resist. Neuroscience research has found physical action of holding print advertising plays an influential role in consumer decision-making and purchasing behaviors. The following direct mail marketing statistics validate mail’s impact on audience response.

  • 9 out of 10 consumers engage with promotional mail (USPS)
  • 88% of millennials regularly read their mail, and 40% regularly purchase items featured in mail ads (USPS)
  • 76% of marketers agree direct mail is more effective than people think (SeQuel Response)
  • 70% of marketers report direct mail performance has improved over the last 12 months – up 5% from last year (SeQuel Response)
  • 69% of consumers surveyed engage with direct mail weekly or daily (SeQuel Response)
  • 56% of consumers of all generations have made purchases because of the mail they received (NAPCO Research)
  • 41% of consumers have visited a website mentioned in a piece of direct mail (SeQuel Response)
  • 41% of consumers look forward to checking their mail everyday (Statista)
  • 40% of consumers enjoy learning about new brands/products/services through mail (SeQuel Response)
  • 38% of consumers feel mail is the most influential type of advertising, beating popular digital channels (SeQuel Response)
  • 33% of consumers have googled a product or service advertised in direct mail (SeQuel Response)
  • Direct mail has an average engagement rate of 95% (MarketReach)
  • Direct mail generates 108 seconds of attention across 28 days (JIC Mail)
  • Direct mail response rates are twice as high as digital ads (ANA)
  • Consumers are most comfortable receiving direct mail advertisements, and rely on print for making smart purchasing decisions (Marketing Charts)

    What is direct mail’s return on investment (ROI)?

    Marketers new to direct mail may experience sticker shock, but when done correctly, this form of marketing is very profitable. Plus, there are a variety of affordable ways to enter the mail channel, including automation or shared programs. The following statistics demonstrate that mail by itself, or integrated into an omnichannel strategy, can produce a healthy ROI.

    • 97% of marketers report direct mail performance has improved or stayed the same (SeQuel Response)
    • 91% of marketers agree integrating direct mail and digital media increases campaign performance (SeQuel Response)
    • A third of marketers achieve a CPA less than $150 with a direct mail campaign (SeQuel Response)
    • Marketers saw their ROI increase by 60% when combining direct mail with digital channels (USPS)
    • Using direct mail and digital marketing channels together increased website visits by 68%, increased response rates by 63%, and resulted in a 40% conversion rate (USPS)
    • Direct mail ROI has surpassed digital mediums with an average ROI of 43% and average response rate of 9% (ANA)
    • 25% of marketers indicate mail’s affordable CPA/CAC as a top advantage of the channel (SeQuel Response)
    • 24% of direct mail recipients will purchase what is advertised on the mail piece (SeQuel Response)

    Who uses direct mail marketing?

    If you believe direct mail is outdated or unused, think again. In 2021, direct mail volumes surpassed pre-pandemic levels, and the latest IPA Bellweather report shows mail investments continue to increase in 2023.  If you have not mailed yet, now is a great time to test the channel! Here’s how modern mailers are adding mail into the marketing mix.

    • 96% of marketers surveyed use direct mail (SeQuel Response)
    • 89% of marketers have increased or maintained direct mail use in the last 12 months (SeQuel Response)
    • 80% of marketers are coordinating campaigns to drive traffic from direct mail to digital channels (USPS)
    • 75% of marketers integrate email marketing with their direct mail strategy (SeQuel Response)
    • 43% of marketers use direct mail for customer acquisition (SeQuel Response)
    • Direct mail volume grew by 4.7% year-over-year in 2021 (Marketing Charts)
    • 2021 direct mail marketing budgets increased an average of 191% from 2020 (NAPCO Research)
    • In 2022, the USPS delivered 127.3 billion pieces of direct mail (USPS)

    How to design a successful direct mail piece:

    To create the best mailer for your campaign, you must understand your target audience and their purchasing habits. Since social media and digital advertising has decreased attention spans, your direct mail piece will need these five essential elements to generate higher response rates:

    1. Brand Consistency: Maintain brand consistency to tell (or remind) the reader who you are and what you provide to complement your brand experience.
    2. Fonts & Colors: Establish a hierarchy of information to lead the reader through the piece of mail by using a structured layout, brand-established fonts, sizes, and colors. Consider your audience closely to appeal to their typography needs.
    3. The Diagonal Scan: Readers first scan printed material from the upper left corner, diagonally across the page, down to the lower right corner. Digital readers follow an “F” pattern — across the top, down the left, across the middle, back to the left margin, and down the screen. Place your CTA and special offers accordingly.
    4. Images: You already know your brain loves images! Showcase lifestyle imagery of people using your product or enjoying your service throughout your piece.
    5. The Call to Action: As the most important direct mail design element, your CTA needs to provoke emotion to convince your potential customers to act. It needs to be noticeable, repeated, and repeated again throughout the piece.

    Creating a high performing direct mail control is a result of strategic testing, industry research, and good ole’ direct response design experience. Templates have evolved past the traditional brand awareness postcard or white letter envelope, to include a variety of self-mailers and even lumpy packages. The following direct mail statistics show what’s trending in mailboxes:

    • 79% of consumers get a positive impression of direct mail ads from coupons, discounts, or special offers (SeQuel Response)
    • 78% of consumers prefer the postcard direct mail format over other popular formats such as catalogs (SeQuel Response)
    • 74% of new customers are more likely to remain loyal to a brand who prioritizes high-quality creative content in their marketing campaigns (Celtra research)
    • 56% of consumers are likely to use the promo/offer code listed on a mail piece during checkout (SeQuel Response)
    • 40% of marketers state personalization/customization options are a top advantage of direct mail (SeQuel Response)
    • A clear and concise message gives 55% of consumers a positive impression of direct mail ads (SeQuel Response)
    • Nearly 50% of retail/consumer marketers have chosen the compact, ready-to-read postcard format over a traditional envelope or self-mailer since early 2021 (SeQuel Response)
    • QR codes have become an attractive tool in direct mail marketing campaigns, as 37.5% of smartphone users will scan a QR code in 2022 (Insider Intelligence)
    • Copy is becoming more concise in direct mail campaigns. Word count in mailers has declined by 62% (Who’s Mailing What!)

    Successful direct mail case studies

    If 40 direct mail statistics wasn’t enough to prove to you the value of direct mail marketing, here are four case studies from today’s top mailers.

    When this investment brand’s digital campaign’s conversions plateaued, they turned to direct mail to produce a higher number of leads. Here is the outcome:

    • Mail volume increased 7x following launch
    • 80% of data models met/exceeded CPA goals
    • Prospect sales rate increased by 10%

    This DTC brand was ready to expand their marketing strategies offline with direct mail to drive sustainable growth. Here is the outcome:

    • Produced incremental revenue of $7MM
    • Grossed nearly 6,000 new sales
    • Achieved 5x ROAS

    A debt-settlement company’s digital growth opportunities became maxed out so they decided to test direct mail to find more scale. Here is the outcome:

    • 22,000 new customers generated in one year
    • Campaign ROI of 39x
    • $1 billion in new debt obtained per year via direct mail

    This identity theft protection brand feared they were missing out on the potential sales direct mail can bring, so they decided to test the channel. Here is the outcome:

    • Direct mail sourced over 2 million new members
    • More than $500 million in direct mail driven revenue
    • 40% of annual sales are generated by direct mail


    Did these direct mail statistics turn you into a believer? Are you ready to transform your direct response strategy?

    In an era dominated by digital distractions, incorporating direct mail into your marketing strategy can play a major role in your brand’s growth and success. If you’re ready to see what a direct mail campaign can do for your bottom line, contact a SeQuel marketing strategist to get started.

    Keep Reading for more reasons why marketers use direct mail:

    • Contact us today to see how we'll help you grow.