While in the U.S. saturation mailings and the new EDDM (Every Door Direct Mail) remain niche products, new data confirm the door drop medium (also called unaddressed mail) has become Europe’s largest industry segment volume-wise.
A new study by ELMA , European door drop operators’ trade association (http://www.elma-europe.com), sends an optimistic message : after several years of decline, unaddressed mail seems to be on the rebound. In the 20 markets surveyed, which make up 90-95% of the region’s volumes , 108 billion unaddressed mail items were delivered in 2010 (+0.5% vs 2009). In sheer volume terms door drop, which consists mainly of advertising pieces, catalogs and free newspapers, has now overtaken addressed letter mail (85 billion pieces).
In 2010 the door drop market in Europe was worth an estimated Eur. 3.8 billion (or $ 0.045 per piece, compared to about $ 0.145 for EDDM and at least $ 0.27 for saturation mail pieces). The largest volumes by country were Germany (31 b), France (19 b), the Netherlands (11.7b), Italy (8.1b,) and the UK (7.9 b). The level of development of the medium varies considerably across countries, from 2 pieces per household per week in Ireland and Romania to 37 pieces in the Netherlands (European average is 12). Fast growth in Eastern Europe seems to have compensated for declines in larger markets such as the Netherlands, Belgium, Italy and Spain.
Unaddressed mail is still seen as one of the most, if not the most cost-effective local advertising medium. New audience measurement tools, such as France’s Balmétrie, also build trust with customers. However online advertising and improved use of targeting techniques negatively impact volumes. In addition with a EU-27 retail trade index flat in 2011 and down so far in 2012, the 2010 rebound, unfortunately, might prove to be short lived.