Direct Mail Printing Outlook: Power of the Direct Approach
Direct mail has been on a wild ride the past few years. First, there was the COVID-19 pandemic that seemingly led to every brand and customer pulling back on every conceivable marketing vehicle as we all struggled to figure out what was going on and where we would fit into it. Then as that waned, in 2022 we saw a massive surge in volumes, with brands rushing to get back in front of their customers as consumer spending skyrocketed, leading to record years for many direct mail printers. And then there was 2023, which saw severe inflation leading to a pullback in spending across the board, coupled with aggressive moves by the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) to raise rates.
It’s enough to make you dizzy.
But as we peel back some of those trends and what is driving them, we can get a good idea of what to expect for 2024 — and where you should plan to invest your capital expenditure dollars to capture as much growth and new direct mail business as possible.
The High Cost of Inflation
First of all, we can’t talk about 2023 without addressing the proverbial elephant in the room: inflation. Some of that is a carry-over from 2022, such as the prices for many substrates, inks, and other consumables that commercial printers experienced during the supply chain shortages. But much of the inflation we’re looking at today is a result of rising prices across the board for consumers and brands alike.
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