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

See all articles by Daniel R. Shiman

Daniel R. Shiman

Federal Communications Commission (FCC)

Date Written: February 2001

Abstract

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

Shiman, Daniel R., The Nature and Causes of the Increase in Direct Mail Volume in the Last Half of the Twentieth Century (February 2001). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=547042 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.547042

Daniel R. Shiman (Contact Author)

Federal Communications Commission (FCC) ( email )

445 12th Street SW
Washington, DC 20554
United States

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