Survey: Consumers show increased interest in mailed promotions

Zachary Russell
Digital Editor
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More than four-in-10 consumers reported an increased interest in receiving direct mail compared to a year ago.

As inflation continues to impact shoppers’ decisions ahead of the holiday season, retail marketers are tasked with turning to proven channels such as mailed offers to reach consumers.

Marketing firm R.R. Donnelley Sons & Company’s (RRD) latest survey of more than 1,000 U.S. consumers and more than 500 U.S. marketers found that 78% of consumers report consolidating their shopping to fewer stores and brands, switching to more cost-efficient brands and using customer loyalty or reward programs more often. Eight-in-10 consumers report being impacted overall by inflation over the past 12 months.

Over 40% of consumers expect to use discounts and promotions more often than last year while holiday shopping this year, showcased by record Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales figures. In the past 12 months, 74% of shoppers agreed they spent more time researching before purchasing.

With consumers being choosy about where they spend their money, RDD said that marketers face a challenge between cultivating brand loyalty and respecting consumer privacy. Consumers report being overwhelmed by digital brand communications via email (69%) and social media (61%), and one-in-five consumers report having deleted a social media account in the last year.

Nearly half (46%) of consumers are more cautious about sharing personal data online, and 93% of marketers report that growing privacy concerns have influenced their digital marketing strategy.

However, three-quarters of marketers reported reallocating some of their marketing budget into direct mail. According to the survey, 42% of consumers reported an increased interest in receiving direct mail compared to a year ago, and younger generations were most interested in direct mail, with 61% of those aged 18-26 agreeing with this sentiment.

RRD said that consumers report an affinity toward direct mail because they like having a physical copy of information to refer back to (47%), it being easier to remember than email (30%) and it being fun to open (28%).

“During the holiday shopping season, consumers are thinking twice before they open their wallets or provide their personal information to receive deals,” said Al duPont, chief commercial officer at RRD. “Results from our latest report show that marketers pairing their most reliable channels with positioning that blends convenience and savings stand the best chance for fostering customer loyalty in an increasingly competitive market.”

Other findings from the survey include: 

  • On average, over half of marketers feel that organizational changes are necessary in the areas of quality, value, commitment to diversity/inclusion, and sustainability in order to keep pace with generational changes

  • Gen Z (66%) consumers were not nearly as likely as millennials (80%) to weigh a brand’s sustainability practices when making a purchasing decision

  • Among Gen Z consumers, the top driving factors when making purchasing decisions include the value of products/services (77%), brand’s reputation (73%) and treating employees fairly (71%)

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