TLC Final 2014 Door Drop Statistics

by Graham Dodd on 08/01/2015

Regular readers of our volume blogs over the past few years will know that at TLC we believe that the annual DMA statistics vastly under estimate the size of the door drop market.

And in conversation with some of our regional and local suppliers, we know it is a view that is shared by many whose businesses are flourishing.

Its understandable when you consider how the DMA statistics are generated year on year and whilst there seems to be no current plans for a review of this process, that may change.

Having completed our 2014 analysis, which admittedly is a straw poll of one in Cheshunt, our weekly average receipt in 2014 was 8.6, down from 9.8 in 2013, which was itself down from 10.4 in 2012.

The DMA’s statistics for 2013 suggested a weekly average of 4.8, just 56% of “our” 2014 volume and perhaps more pertinently, just 49% of “our” 2013 volume.

If, when published, the DMA’s 2014 statistics show a further fall in annual volume/weekly receipt, perhaps in line with our fall, that percentage will worsen.

Incidentally, the fall in Cheshunt could partly be attributed to the primary free newspaper supplier ceasing publication during the year.

Would it be reasonable to suggest the DMA statistics accurately measure only “national” door drop usage?

But why should there be such a large disparity and what is making the difference?

The DMA statistics are very broad and don’t (currently) break down the overall statistics either into business or market sectors, but we do!

In 2014, Royal Mail D2D contributed 30.6% of all items delivered (23% in 2013), free newspapers 21.9% (24.2% in 2103) and solus or shared distribution by teams or walkers 47.5% (52.8% in 2013).

Those statistics appear to support a common belief that some free newspaper users have migrated to Royal Mail as the primary alternative, but we remain sceptical that such migrants have switched their entire volumeĀ to Royal Mail, on cost grounds if nothing else.

Its also clear from these statistics that team/walker operations still enjoy the greatest market share and returning to the opening statement in this blog, is this perhaps exactly the business area not monitored closely enough by the DMA statistics?

Their market share is down however, so perhaps also showing some migration to Royal Mail and/or local businesses struggling in tough times?

Market sector splits show retail users as by far the biggest users with 58.2%, yet that is down from a massive 75.5% in 2013 – perhaps partly the impact of retailers, particularly grocers, switching from free newspapers to Royal Mail?

Direct response and “local” clients both weigh in with 13% usage, but direct response is down slightly from 15.9% inĀ  2013 and local down from a huge 39.2% – perhaps another fall due in part to free newspapers?

The only other major area is charities where we again recorded a fall in share from 26.9% in 2013 to just 9.6% in 2014. Royal Mail appeared to maintain their market share, but there was a noticeable decline in the number of charity collection bags received on a solus basis in 2014.

Whilst volumes are down pretty much across the board, positivity comes from external sources such as Steve Abbott, a Director at DataTalk Research who recently commented in a door drop post “Volumes may be down, but recall does not seem to be suffering. Figures for 2014 (up to October) are still at 88% for leaflets through the door, very much in line with previous years. Source; The British Consumer Index“.

At TLC, we believe that is in part due to ever improving targeting, making door drop receipt more relevant to consumers.

And whilst online, mobile etc., etc., still seem uppermost in many marketers’ minds, the door drop medium continues to provide a wide range of existing and new clients a solid, reliable service producing demonstrable levels of ROI and excellent results overall.

If you are an online advocate, have you ever considered a door drop to drive people online?

This article was written by...

– who has written 83 posts on Letterbox Consultancy for Door Drop Marketing.

Graham Dodd is the founder of The Letterbox Consultancy - he has over 40 years of experience in the door drop industry and remains at the forefront of innovation in the business.

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