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Direct Mail in Ireland

As part of our ongoing research we look at Direct Mail trends for individual business sectors, who the top senders are and how they are using Direct Mail.

The insights below represent key findings from the research carried out by Ipsos MRBI in Feb/April 2010.


The Big Senders

The financial sector continues to be the largest sender of addressed mail items in Ireland accounting for over a quarter of the total volume of addressed mail sent. They are closely followed by the Utility sector who continue to use mail to communicate with their customers.

The biggest drop this wave was for the Government/Political sector, falling from a 2009 high, due to the marketing of the Lisbon Treaty , EU, Local and By-Elections that took place. Other sectors have been relatively stable over the past three research waves.

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When we look at the proportion of households that receive addressed mail by sector, we see that 60% received mail from the Financial sector, and 59% from Utilities. This proportion has been stable for a number of years, despite resect moves by both sectors to encourage customers to switch to online communications. This is in agreement with our attitudinal research that shows the majority of Irish households still prefer mail. Unsurprisingly the number of households receiving mail from Government/Political Parties (36%) has dropped in line with lower levels of political activity. However both Leisure and entertainment (24%) and Shopping (24%) have seen steady growth since the start of 2009.

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Looking at the top two sectors we can see that Banks dominate the Financial sector whilst the ESB and Telecommunications dominate the Utility sector.

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Retail and Home shopping make up the bulk of the remaining addressed mail.

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Addressed Direct Mail

Currently this type of Direct Mail accounts for 29% of all addressed mail received by consumers. Addressed Direct Mail consists of both Relationship Management and Advertising/Promotional material. For this test period we saw a significant increase in material sent by Financial Services (+10%) and smaller increases in Leisure/Entertainment (+6%) and Shopping (+2%). The full picture can be seen in the graph below.


Within Relationship Management Addressed Direct Mail (Letters etc, but not statements/bills) the Government/Political parties(21%) and Financial sectors (30%) are the biggest senders, followed by the Leisure/Entertainment(9%) and Utilities(6%) sectors. Looking specifically at all addressed Advertising/Promotional material, this test period, we see a drop for the Government/Political Parties sector at 3% versus a high of 23% for 2009. The main three sectors are Shopping (14%), Utilities(13%) and Leisure/Entertainment (13%).

Unaddressed Direct Mail

This wave we see a resurgence of the top 3 Unaddressed Direct Mail sectors: Leisure/Entertainment (+5%), Shopping (+1%) and then Charities (+1%). Government/Political Parties had stolen the number one position with 25% in May/Jul 09 a high not seen since 2007. Shopping and Leisure/Entertainment still account for over half of all Unaddressed Direct Mail in Ireland.

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Takeaways/Restaurants are the largest volume source of Unaddressed Direct Mail at 22% (+4%) followed by Retailers/Supermarkets at 14%. However looking at the proportion of households that receive Unaddressed Direct Mail, although Takeaways/Restaurants (46%) and Retailers/Supermarkets (41%) are still the top two, DIY/Household reaches more than 27% of households (10% volume), indicating that they are targeting a wider geographical distribution than Takeaways and Retailers who tend to target small geographical areas more densely.

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Transactional/Additional Direct Mail

Approximately 14% of all Addressed Mail contains Transactional advertising material. The top three sectors using this type of Direct Mail have shifted since Sept/Nov 09, then it was: 1st Utilities, 2nd Financial Services and then 3rd Gov/Political parties. In Feb/April 2010 we have: 1st Financial Services (35%), 2nd Utilities (30%) and 3rd Shopping at 11%.

For Both Financial Services and Utilities over two thirds of their total Addressed Advertising material sent is as Transactional Direct Mail, whilst for the other sectors it is usually less than a third of their total Addressed Advertising material. This would indicate a preference for inclusion of transactional Direct Mail along with financial/utility bills and statements.


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If you would like to see how consumers feel about Direct Mail then check out our  What do Irish Consumers have to say section.

Benchmarking Direct Mail Volume in Ireland

As can be seen from the charts below Direct Mail is still under utilised as a marketing channel in Ireland relative to International standards: International Postal Corporation.

Average weekly number of Addressed DM received by IPC members is 4

Average weekly number of Unaddressed DM received by IPC members is 6

Source: IPC Global Postal Industry Report 2010