DMA Door drop industry report (2012) – A review

by Team on 02/07/2013

Following the recent release of the DMA’s door drop report, focusing on door drop volumes and trends for 2012, we look at a number of DMA statements.

Below each DMA statement is an overview of TLC’s view relating to the information provided.

Door Drop Volumes

Door drop volumes increased by 3.5% to 7.216 billion, reversing the decline in 2011 when volumes fell by 11.8% in comparison to 2010.

TLC Comment: the DMA statistics can only ever accurately measure volume via its members and whilst they include all the major door drop “companies”, they do not represent all free newspaper publishers, nor the hundreds of smaller operators throughout the UK.

As a result, TLC believes that the true volume of “local” business may not be accurately represented by these statistics and that the overall volume will be larger.

Door Drop Expenditure

Expenditure – door drop expenditure (just the actual cost of distribution) similarly increased by 3.9% to £266 million, again reversing a 1.4% decrease in 2011.

TLC Comment: the increase in volume obviously contributes to this increase. But, the continued fall in free newspaper circulation commonly forces advertisers into higher priced alternatives such as the Royal Mail door to door service, which will also have had an effect. As will the Royal Mail D2D price increase in April 2012.

Door Drop Trends

Trends – this page of the report is worded exactly the same as the 2011 report despite the increase in volume previously stated, although the image has been updated!?

TLC Comment: we would agree with the 2011 comment that “continued improvements in the use of client data and targeting techniques to improve accuracy and reduce wastage on volumes” helped to decrease volumes in 2011, but we also believe services such as our own SMART-Drop system have introduced new users to the door drop medium and that will have contributed to the increase in 2012.

Door Drop Volumes

The increase in volume sees the UK household weekly average increase to 5.3 from 5.1.

TLC Commentin line with our belief that national volumes are much higher than the 7,216 billion the report states, the weekly average will also be higher.

Door Drop Weights

Average item weight – strangely, the report compares 2012 statistics with 2005, when the remainder of the report makes comparisons to 2011. As a result, it charts a 17.1% decrease to 15.5 grammes.

TLC Comment: there is no doubt that the average size and weight of items has been on a downward spiral in recent years and early indications in 2013 seem to confirm that trend is continuing. That said, there has also been some evidence of a few national clients occasionally delivering A2 size items folded to A4, so this statistic will be one to look forward to in 2014.


TLC feel its disappointing that the DMA have published these statistics on their website which is password protected and therefore non members cannot gain access to the data.

The report does contain useful and encouraging information about the door drop medium and at a time when there is a growing evidence of resurgence towards traditional media and away from all things digital, such rare and positive good news should be shared as widely as possible.

If you would like to receive a full copy of the report, please email

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– who has written 51 posts on Letterbox Consultancy for Door Drop Marketing.

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