The Nature and Causes of the Increase in Direct Mail Volume in the Last Half of the Twentieth Century
25 Pages Posted: 18 May 2004
Date Written: February 2001
This paper examines the reasons for the large and apparently permanent jump in volume of direct mail in the period 1950 to 1996, especially in the period 1975 to 1988, when the number of pieces sent rose 133% per capita. Based on available statistical and anecdotal evidence, the long run causes are determined to be mostly the growth in demand for all advertising by firms, and the increased information firms have obtained about consumers. Falling direct mail costs, changes in demographic factors, and increased consumers' trust in purchasing from mail order firms, are argued to have had a smaller impact.
Keywords: Direct mail, direct marketing, advertising mail, database marketing
JEL Classification: M31, M37
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation