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Eve Padula

Have You Checked Your Mailbox Today?

Printed mail remains popular, especially for transactional communications

Feb 2, 2023 8:51:23 AM



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Raise your hand if you’re ready for spring. I can’t imagine I’m the only one. Today is Groundhog Day, a North American holiday in which a groundhog predicts the arrival of spring—or lack thereof. Some of you might remember the 1993 movie of the same name, in which Phil Connors (Bill Murray) becomes trapped in a time loop and is forced to relive the 2nd of February over and over. The term “Groundhog Day” has since taken on a life of its own and has come to describe a repetitive and often unpleasant situation.


For some brand owners, the continued use of old-school printed mail in a digital age may feel a bit like Groundhog Day: You’re doing the exact same thing you’ve been doing for decades, even though there are newer ways to stay in touch with your customers. Before you throw in the direct mail towel, though, recent research from Keypoint Intelligence proves that consumers of all ages still like printed mail. This is particularly the case for transactional communications like bills and statements.


In late 2022, Keypoint Intelligence conducted a web-based survey of 1,500 consumer respondents to assess their engagement with printed and digital transactional communications. There is no question that the digital transformation is upon us, but consumers continue to recognize the value that printed mail delivers. When asked for their input on print/mail delivery, over half of the surveyed consumer respondents reported collecting mail from their physical mailboxes every day that it was delivered.


Frequency of Mail Collection


Many consumers maintain a strong preference for physical mail when it comes to their transactional communications. In fact, respondents to this same survey reported that on average, nearly 43% of their monthly bills and statements were received exclusively in the mail. As we move into the future, printed transactional documents will likely remain popular due to ongoing concerns about the security of online transactions as well as well-publicized instances of fraud and identity theft.


Share of Bills/Statements Received Only in the Mail


Among total survey respondents, the vast majority (over 94%) reported receiving print and digital versions for at least some of their transactional communications. When those respondents who received multiple versions of the same bills and statements were asked why, 46% stated that they simply liked having both print and digital versions for their records. It is interesting to note that younger consumers were especially likely to feel this way.


After beginning as a pilot project in 2014, the United States Postal Service’s Informed Delivery promotion was expanded to most ZIP codes in 2017. The service has experienced rapid growth since that time. Informed Delivery enables subscribers to preview their mail via e-mail, an app, or a web dashboard and manage any packages that might soon be delivered. As shown in the Figure below, nearly half of consumers we surveyed were already subscribers of the service.


Familiarity with USPS Informed Delivery


It should also be noted that when the responses to this question were broken down by age, Millennials (consumers between the ages of 26 and 41) were nearly twice as likely to be Informed Delivery subscribers than the oldest respondents to our survey.


The ways in which businesses communicate with their customers can make or break relationships, set the tone for future interactions, and even impact a customer's perception of your brand. To pave the way for continued loyalty and growth, enterprises must extend their transactional document delivery options, recognize and honor unique consumer preferences, and connect with customers in an established and trusted manner. Continuing to rely on printed mail as a means of reaching customers may feel like a Groundhog Day scenario, but printed and mailed communications still have an important place in the overall ecosystem—particularly when it comes to consumers’ preferences for receiving bills and statements.

Subscribers to Keypoint Intelligence’s Customer Communications Advisory Service can access additional information, including fresh research on the role of transactional communications in our digital world. If you’re not a subscriber, just send us an email at
sales@keypointintelligence.com for more information.