As we enter the digital age, email marketing is on the rise whilst direct mail seems to be continuously decreasing. But the question is: which is most effective?

In 2005, the Royal Mail estimated that there were 19.7 billion letters sent.  Of those, 6.17bn were ‘direct mail’ – often described as ‘junk’ mail. But by 2012, these figures had fallen to 13.8bn total letters, of which 4.4bn was direct mail. This shows the rate of which direct mail is decreasing.

Forecasts for the future see mail dropping even further. By 2023, there’s a forecasted 8.3bn total letters, of which 3.1bn will be direct mail. Is this because companies are choosing to send emails instead?

The facts

In 2013, the City of London estimated that the average UK household received approximately 650 pieces of direct mail each year, which seems a lot until we say that we receive an average of 121 marketing emails per day…that means we receive the equivalent of a years’ worth of direct mail, in just 5.4 days of emails.

As of March, there are around 205 billion emails sent per day in 2016, with spam emails accounting for 56.52%. That means there are over 115,866,000,000 spam emails sent per day. The latest population estimates said there were 7.4 billion people on Earth. That means there’s enough spam email to send around 16 emails to every single person on the planet…every single day.

Of those 115,866,000,000 spam emails, only 22.87% are opened and only 0.12% receive a response. In comparison, according to the CMO Council, 56% of people open their direct mail and figures in 2012 show that 3.4% of people respond. In other words: more people read and respond to direct mail than they do to emails.

When you consider the volumes of emails sent in comparison to the amount of letters, it is no surprise that direct mail has a higher open and response rate. There are around 74 trillion emails sent per year, whereas in the UK there are just 13.8 billion letters sent in a year. This means there are 37,808,219 letters in total sent per day, of which 12,098,630 are direct mail.

Does that figure sound a lot? If you think that 12,098,630 is just 0.01% of the amount of spam emails sent every single day around the globe…maybe it doesn’t seem so much after all.

The verdict

As the era of the email overload is among us and direct mail is falling every year, it seems direct mail is becoming useful once again. With a higher open rate and a higher response rate than its digital cousin, it seems obvious that now is the time to opt for a better marketing campaign which will put you in front of an audience.

Don’t follow the crowd and contribute to ‘email overload’. Instead opt for memorable direct mail solutions.