USPS OIG: Try a Regional Mail Approach
Yes, mail volume is declining, but not at the same rate throughout the country. The decrease for single-piece First Class mail is nearly zero percent in Charleston, W.V., and is more than the average of 61 percent in Dallas, according to the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General.
From 1995 to 2013, single-piece First Class mail volume shrank 61 percent in the U.S.—on average, the USPS OIG emphasizes on Monday.
"But a close look into the geographic details reveals the rate of FCM decline varies widely by location," the office's blog post says. "So widely, in fact, that the U.S. Postal Service should keep it in mind as it right-sizes its network and considers new products and services."
The USPS OIG says the agency should consider this report while adapting, because First Class mail had been its largest revenue driver and USPS owns a lot of equipment that handles the product.
"We are currently reviewing the details and suggestions of the report," USPS tells Target Marketing on Monday.
As for taking a nuanced approach to First Class mail, many direct mailers take demographics and regions into account when sending offers to households. For instance, the USPS OIG points out that in previous USPS research, "Postal Service Household Diary Study," professionals learned "that college graduates consistently send about twice as much mail as people without high school diplomas, and mail use in general increases substantially with income and age." So it stands to reason that postal customers' needs vary widely by region and it might help USPS to take advantage of that, the USPS reports in the study released on Monday titled "Declines in U.S. Postal Service Mail Volume Vary Widely Across the United States." (Opens as a PDF)