Millennials Won’t Respond to Printed Catalogs and Direct Mail, Right? WRONG!

Eve Padula
Jun 7, 2016

In a world where consumers are inundated by online requests and e-mail messages, printed communications really cut through the clutter and attract attention. Although some might think that tried-and-true marketing methods like direct mail and catalogs primarily appeal to Baby Boomers, InfoTrends’ research shows that even Millennials are responsive to these communications.

In late 2015, InfoTrends conducted a benchmark study entitled Direct Marketing Production Printing & Value-Added Services: A Strategy for Growth. This effort included an in-depth survey to uncover what the future holds for marketers, consumers, and direct mail printers. The findings from this survey were broken down by age demographic, and respondents between the ages of 18 and 34 are considered Millennials for the purposes of this study.

After experiencing a decline in use, printed catalogs are now enjoying a resurgence. The reason for this is simple—catalogs still play a critical role in driving business. About 64% of U.S. consumers regularly or almost always read the catalogs that they received, and over a third read them occasionally. Although all age groups reported a strong engagement with catalogs, older Millennials were particularly likely to read the catalogs that they received on a regular or very frequent basis.

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Nearly three-quarters of Millennials who receive catalogs consider them to be useful tools for learning about products. Furthermore, over 92% of those between the ages of 18 and 34 used catalogs to learn and get ideas about things that interested them. The share of Millennials who felt this way was higher than it was for any other age group.

Catalogs are also a trigger for online and retail purchases. 79% of consumers reported visiting a retail store due to the products or promotions in a catalog. This was especially true for younger Millennials between the ages of 18 and 24 (86%).

Even in today’s digital age, most Millennials are also receptive to direct mail. On average, Millennials throw out about 34% of direct mail pieces without reading them, but the flip side of this is that most direct mail items—66%—are at least glanced at. Over 81% of Millennials will take a minute or more to review direct mail if they find it interesting, and about 80% believe that direct mail can be an effective means of communication.

Based on InfoTrends’ research, customization has a marked impact on consumer engagement. This was particularly the case for older Millennials—90% of these respondents were more likely to look at direct mail pieces that were customized or personalized to their interests.

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In addition to personalization, there are a number of other ways for marketers to ensure that their direct mail pieces are noticed and read. According to InfoTrends’ research:

  • Nearly 47% of total respondents reported that the quality of printing/paper had a major or moderate effect on the decision to open a direct mail piece. Respondents between the ages of 25 and 34 (57%) were the most likely to feel this way.
  • Nearly 49% of consumers stated that color had a major or moderate effect on their decision to open a piece of direct mail. Older Millennials (59%) were the most likely to be influenced by color.
  • Over 42% of consumers noted that the quality of printing/paper had a major or moderate effect on their decision to take an action after reading a piece of direct mail. Older Millennials (55%) were the most likely to feel this way.

When it comes to direct mail, older Millennials stand out as the group that is most influenced by the tactile experience of print.

InfoTrends’ research shows that even Millennials will respond to printed catalogs and direct mail. The key to success lies in ensuring that communications are relevant, personalized, and engaging. For more information about InfoTrends’ 2015 Multi-Client Study entitled Direct Marketing Production Printing & Value-Added Services: A Strategy for Growth, contact Scott Phinney at (781) 616-2115.

 

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