Door drop volumes – 2013 summary

by Graham Dodd on 13/01/2014

Well 2013 closed, but in slightly surprising style.

No leaflets were received during the 5 week month of December via either of the free newspapers delivered each week, just five from Royal Mail D2D – but another 34 from local businesses!

Our total volume receipt for 2013 was a whopping 470, an average of 9.04 per week, with a peak of 19 in w/c November 25th and a trough of just 1 in w/c December 23rd.

Our total receipt, split by distribution type was team solus/shared drops 252/53.61%, free newspapers 111/23.62% and Royal Mail door to door 107/22.77%.

A weekly view of those statistics means 4.85 items per week through teams, 2.13 alongside free newspapers and 2.06 via Royal Mail D2D.

But even when a calculation is made of the free newspaper and Royal Mail D2D weekly averages excluding the weeks where no items were received, they still both fall just short of three items.

A peak at market sector shares shows that the Royal Mail D2D split was 33.6% retail, 30.8% direct response, 16.8% telecoms, 12.1% charities, 2.9% public sector and 1.9% for both leisure and local clients.

For free newspapers that split was 62.2% retail, 27.9% direct response, 6.3% local clients, 2.7% charities and .9% public sector – no telecoms!

And the team split was 35.5% local clients, 32.6% local retailers, 20.4% charities, 4.1% telecoms and direct response clients, 1.5% public sector, .8% leisure and .5% political and f.m.c.g.

Interesting facts to emerge from our analysis :

* almost the entire 20.4% charity volume via team distribution was for collection bags.

* with 29 items – one every 1.8 weeks – entirely through free newspapers, the Co-op were the largest user, although that statistic is slightly misleading when taking into account a couple of duplicate distributions through free newspapers in the same weeks and a number of weeks when one “specialist” service leaflet was inserted inside the main item.

* with 23 items – one every 2.3 weeks – predominantly through free newspapers, but backed up by Royal Mail door to door, Hillarys Blinds were the largest direct response user.

* prominent users of Royal Mail door to door were Pizza Hut, Domino’s, Talk Talk, Virgin and Everest, although other major names such as Sky and BT also featured.

* the only other really prominent user of free newspapers was Burger King, although a range of well known High Street retail names used free newspapers once or twice during the year.

In comparison to our statistics, the DMA Door Drop Board’s industry report for 2012 released in June 2013, estimated that the UK average weekly receipt was 5.3%.

This is probably quite accurate if you only take into account items dropped by Royal Mail D2D and free newspapers – which are the major service providers to the large door drop agencies – but does it also highlight a disregard for the size of the “local” market?

5.3 as a weekly household average could represent 2.something items for both free newspapers and Royal Mail – which we generally agree with – but perhaps just one other (solus) item, which we really disagree with.

Nationally there will be “thousands” of local businesses using the “hundreds” of local door drop options, but is that market being totally overlooked by industry statistics?

Is it a business area which creates an opportunity for the free newspaper marketplace and/or Royal Mail D2D – probably, but is it a challenge either will relish or rise to?

Both options have many strong points to recommend them and free newspapers historically had strong local sales operations, but as circulation levels have declined, has the medium lost some of its attraction and so should they be doing more to attract business?

Royal Mail would certainly appear to have capacity to fill, but will their logistical requirements, minimum charge values and another round of price increases in late March persuade the local businessman commonly looking for last minute and perhaps price driven incentives to find a solution elsewhere?

Going into 2014, we at TLC feel in buoyant mood after a great 2013 and an already promising start to the new year, but we would like to see door drop suppliers do more to encourage clients to continue to utilise the undoubted strengths of the printed item and set the bar higher in providing customer solutions.

Economic forecasts for 2014 increasingly appear positive although there is no doubt it will still be a long haul, but we see door drops as a responsive, accountable, flexible and innovative medium which offers users more opportunities than many existing and potential users seem to realise.

And this year’s volume report has certainly got off to a flying start with 18 items received in w/c Jan 6th so that’s promising!!!

This article was written by...

– who has written 32 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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