Stats from 2013 USPS Household Diary Study

Earlier in the year, The United States Postal Service released its annual Household Diary Study for fiscal year 2013. The study examines mail trends in national households, including how Americans send, receive and use mail.

Household trends & demographics

Collected each year and funded by the USPS, The Household Diary gathers information via interviews and self-completed surveys from more than 5,200 households.

Results from the study show that American households are changing. Only 19 percent of those surveyed now represent the typical nuclear family. Not surprisingly mail use is more active among older recipients, but use strongly correlates with income and education. Older households (those run by people ages 55+) receive the most advertising mail and higher income households ($100,000 or more) are more likely to actually send mail, including letters and greeting cards.

More details about the results:

– Seventy-seven percent of households read advertising mail.

– Households with incomes of $100,000 or more receive two times more mail pieces than households with incomes of less than $35,000.

– More than half of the 121 billion pieces of mail received in 2013 was delivered via Standard Mail between households and non-households (i.e. businesses).

– Packages received by households most often contain music/videos, pharmaceuticals, clothing, and books—a sign that online purchases and mail-order retail are the primary drivers of household package volume.

Business mail trends

American businesses spent about $179 billion in 2013 advertising their products and services to American households, representing 61 percent of all household mail.

Of this total advertising spending, 11 percent was spent on direct mail.

– About 88 percent (69.8 billion pieces) of all advertising mail was sent via Standard Mail.

– Invitations and announcements represent 46 percent of business and government correspondence; announcements alone represented 73 percent of all social mail received by households.

– Merchants are the largest senders. In 2013, they sent 34 percent of Standard advertising mail and 19 percent of First-Class advertising mail. Financial firms are the second largest sender of both Standard and First-Class Mail advertising (24 and 35 percent respectively).

– Not all advertising is treated equally. Only 19 percent of catalog recipients discard them without reading. 

See more stats. Read the full study. 

Image credit: Vetatur Fumare/ flickr

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