Stat: Financial Services
While many financial institutions teetered on the brink of collapse or were about to be absorbed by a slightly better run rival, 2008 also witnessed individual portfolios go through the blender, mortgages defaulted upon in record numbers and, for the first time in American history, a negative savings rate. And despite the big hopes for the new administration, 2009 may not be that much different, for the hole is deep - and the way out is steep.
All of this is actually reflected in financial services mail. Peering into our Who's Mailing What! Archive, the once dominant sector - especially credit card and mortgage and loan offers, along with investment and banking offers - noticeably receded in volume in 2008 (until October, our last recorded month of mailings) compared to 2007, and particularly 2006.
While overall volume dropped by 8.3 percent in 2008 from 2007, it plummeted by 18.4 percent since 2006. Considering that the financial services sector normally takes up around 12 percent to 13 percent of the mailstream, that's a huge drop.
In terms of repeat mail, financial services marketers went away from controls in a big way. Comparing 2008 to 2006, active controls have slipped by 32.1 percent. Personalization actually rose in 2007 to 80.4 percent of all efforts, but dipped back to 2006 levels by a couple of percentage points in 2008.
Perhaps exhibiting new tactics to win prospects, the financial services sector saw premium usage go up by 11.3 percent from 2007. And self-mailers posted a statistical high in the last three years - in 2008, the newly popular format rose a whopping 20 percent since 2007.