DMA Statistics 2014

by Graham Dodd on 01/02/2016

The DMA have finally released the annual door drop volume and expenditure report for 2014.

What are the headlines lifted directly from the report?

* The 2014 results showed a decrease in unit volume of 5.89% from 6.568bn to 6.181bn.

This reduction is another decrease from 7.216bn in 2012. This was an 8.98% reduction from the previous year. This decrease has been generally consistent over the past five years.

* The observed volume decrease may be due to a number of factors, such as the recession (and subsequent closing of a number of retail stores), the closure of many free newspapers, contraction of advertising investment in traditional advertising vehicles in favour of digital channels (such as search) and better targeted distribution.

* It can be seen, however, that whilst volume has decreased, spend has increased (circa.1.5% increase on 2013) which illustrates the switch to more expensive door-to-door methods.

This has been driven by the continued closure of free newspaper titles as mentioned previously and switches made to Team/Royal Mail distributions.

The increased cost per unit is sustainable due to more sophisticated targeting and insight into distribution campaigns.

* The average number of door drop communications delivered to the average UK household per week has fallen from 7.7 items in 2007 to 4.5 items in 2014.

Whilst this may be a 42% decrease across the seven years, this is only a 7% decrease compared to 2013. It is worth noting, however, that the average numbers in urban, semi-urban and rural homes will vary significantly.

The number of communications could be reflective of the continual evolution and refinement of intelligent targeting and insight tools that permit advertisers to more accurately reach their bespoke audience.

TLC’s View?

  1. As in previous years, the report is probably an accurate reflection of the national door drop marketplace, but still does not recognise the true size of the local marketplace, which in our opinion could potentially double the perceived weekly average receipt.Why? Well the DMA only has very limited representation of “local” companies amongst its membership in the first place and even then, they probably don’t all submit their statistics (perhaps is should become a condition of membership?).

    Discussion amongst smaller DMA member companies (predominantly those providing team or walker services), generally suggests a buoyant marketplace with increased annual volumes and is at odds with the DMA claimed volume reduction levels.

    In Cheshunt for instance, there is strong evidence that historical free newspapers users have migrated to solus/shared distribution with the demise of the dedicated Cheshunt title and the limited coverage of the remaining title.

    We would suggest that may well be a picture replicated nationally.

  2. Assuming the national marketplace has contracted year on year, TLC would not disagree with the probable reasons stated, particularly targeting, but only to a degree.TLC consider themselves market leaders in targeting innovation and through their SMART-Drop service, have for nearly 6 years, seen improved targeting services increase client usage of the medium, and, bring new users into the marketplace.

    In our experience therefore, targeting has increased our client base and the subsequent volumes distributed.

  3. We similarly agree that average spend will have risen because of the increased usage of more expensive options, but perhaps only in the national marketplace.In Cheshunt, its increasingly common for local companies to arrange shared drops to minimise distribution costs?

    Would it be any different elsewhere on a local basis?

  4. TLC’s 2014 volume monitor produced an average weekly receipt 8.6, so almost double the 4.5 these statistics suggest (we predicted less than 5 in our blog of January 12th!).When you consider that 59.6% items of all items received in Cheshunt in 2014 were solus/shared drops, mainly for small, local businesses and services, you can perhaps understand why we believe these statistics are not an accurate reflection of the overall marketplace.

Would Cheshunt be any different to any other town or city in the UK, particularly those where there is no free newspaper coverage – 70% of the UK?

In closing, having long been a critic of the accuracy of the DMA statistics, TLC is at the forefront of a drive to improve their overall quality and several alternatives are currently being reviewed and considered for implementation.

Watch this space, but don’t expect immediate actions!

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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