Financial Mailers Ride Out The Storm
Amid the mortgage and credit crises, it’s no surprise that financial mail volume is down from last year. Overall financial mail volume dropped 11 percent from 18.6 percent of the total mail last year to 16.4 percent as of August. In January, when we last saw a decrease in financial mail volume, the subprime mortgage crisis was in full swing. It will be interesting to track this trend further into 2009 as the brunt of the economic woes including bank failures and bailouts hits between March and the present.
Indicating some cost savings, the self mailer format climbed a bit in this sector from 9.7 percent last year to 12 percent this year. There were no other significant format trends, with the bulk of offers riding in vouchers and #10s and only a handful of mailers sending a 6˝ x 9˝ or larger.
Both personalization and premiums are still in frequent use by financial mailers. Use of premiums peaked in 2005-06 at 34.3 percent and then took a small dip, in 2006-07 to 30.2 percent and holds steady at 31.6 percent this year. Gift cards and frequent flier miles, and promotional items like totes, pullovers, and coolers, round out the usual suspects.
Personalization is still widely used in the financial sector, hovering around 78 percent for the last four years with credit and affinity cards leading the pack with more than 90 percent of offers personalized, and loan offers falling directly behind, with 87.6 percent of offers personalized.
Due to the mortgage and credit crises, it seems that loan offers including debt consolidation, home equity, business line of credit, mortgage and refinancing are down from 24 percent of total financial mail last year to 17.7 percent of financial mail this year a decrease of 26.6 percent. After trending slightly upward for the last three years, corporate cards also are starting to decrease by a percentage point or two.