The Elimination of Saturday Mail Delivery: Is It the End or the Beginning?February 25, 2013 By Don Hinman
The United States Postal Service has a vast market, reaching every address in the nation. However, the ailing Postal Service lost $1.3 billion in the first quarter of the 2013 fiscal year, continuing what has been a steady financial decline. In addition, the marketing industry has been abuzz over the recent announcement that USPS will end Saturday delivery of First Class and Standard mail. Many are asking, does this signal the end of direct marketing as we know it?
I don't think so. Direct mail is still a viable and important communication channel. However, this change will certainly impact the landscape.
Ending Saturday delivery was inevitable. The USPS has been losing billions of dollars with no recovery in sight. Substantial cost cutting measures were necessary, and this is simply one such measure. The elimination of Saturday delivery is expected to save the Postal Service $2 billion a year.
To put this change into perspective, we should review the past and present of the USPS. At one point in time, the USPS was a primary means of communication. We relied on the postal service to receive our bills, catalogs, letters from friends, magazines, holiday cards and marketing offers.
A lot of this has since changed. Email and the Internet are now the primary means of written communication. It is now possible to deliver most, if not all, written communication electronically and instantaneously. Of course we continue to receive some communication via the mail but there is no argument that the volume of mail has decreased dramatically over the past decade. Therefore, it is logical that fewer pieces of mail can be handled over fewer days of delivery with an overall reduction in cost for the USPS.
Furthermore, many corporations and business are not open on weekends. Mail delivered on Saturday is often left in the mailroom until the workweek begins Monday morning. The choice of Saturday as a day to discontinue mail delivery makes sense from the perspective of businesses.
Packages are a separate matter, as the Internet can't replace the delivery of tangible goods. The USPS will continue to deliver packages and express mail on Saturdays as they compete with companies like FedEx and UPS in this market.