Final 2015 Door Drop Volume Blog

by Graham Dodd on 12/01/2016

After a quiet Summer, Autumn kicked on in volume terms with a flurry of all the normal Christmas suspects; jewellers, toy stores etc., plus appearances from many of the industry’s big hitters; Domino’s, Pizza Hut, Hillarys Blinds, BT and SKY.

Even December produced a weekly average of 5.25 items, which when you consider Christmas week only saw one item from Harveys furniture store, meant the other three weeks, including the “holiday” week of December 28th, saw an average of nearly 7 items per week.

Interestingly, that virtually mirrors our final weekly average for the year which stands at 6.8.

That is however down from 2014’s average of 8.6.

Its difficult to speculate how the 8.6 score may have compared to the industry’s recognised statistics provided by the DMA as their 2014 results are still to be released, but we would predict they would show a weekly average of less than 5.

That being the case, how would our 2015 figure of 6.8 compare to the official 2015 statistics?

If the DMA 2014 figure was 5, but similarly fell by c. 20%, it could be nearer to 4?

If our belief that DMA statistics are primarily built on Royal Mail D2D and free newspaper volumes is correct, its interesting to consider that those two options contributed 52.6% of our volume in 2014, but only 40.3% in 2015.

We believe the 2014 DMA figures are shortly to be released and we can consider and comment further then.

So top line statistics to emerge from our 2015 summary are :


The “local” solus/shared distribution market dominated the results with a 59.6% share of all items received, up from the 47.4% in 2014.

By comparison, Royal Mail enjoyed a 31.7% share, a slight increase from 30.6%.

But free newspapers plummeted to just 8.7%, from 21.9%.

Conclusions – smaller, local businesses have moved out of free newspapers into solus/shared activity. In our postal sector that will be influenced by the lack of a dedicated Cheshunt title because we are only just in the northern loop of an Enfield title. This may however be a common story across as the UK as free newspaper coverage levels continue to decline and become a less attractive proposition than in their heydays.

In our opinion, free newspapers should continue to offer a good option to door drop clients, but its becoming increasingly important for publishers to allow agencies such as ourselves to properly evaluate the coverage value to individual clients in terms of target market penetration. Sadly, many publishers don’t seem to understand that or are unwilling to go the extra mile to provide the service, so in our opinion they will continue to lose market share, certainly on a national client basis and perhaps longer term on a local basis and that’s possibly what they deserve.

BUSINESS CATEGORIES (market share comparisons show 2015 statistics first followed by 2014 and express % as a calculation of their overall market share)

Retail (including local retailers) was by far the biggest overall category with 51% of all items received, but that was down from 58.2% in 2014.

Market share comparisons were Royal Mail 32%/29%, free newspapers 11%/28%, solus/shared 57%/43%.

Local businesses were the second largest contributor with 20.9% of all items, up from 13% in 2014.

Market share comparisons were Royal Mail 1%/0%, free newspapers 7%/15%, solus/shared 92%/85%.

Charities contributed 11.4% of all items in comparison to 9.6%.

Market share comparisons here will be misleading if simply based on the statistics.

Solus will show a share of 83%, but they were exclusively charity bags, many of which we consider questionable in their authenticity.

Of the paper items delivered (just 7), 6 or 85.7% were via Royal Mail, with the other via the free newspaper and all of those items were from large, reputable charities.

Direct response was the only other statistically significant business area with a 9.2% market share, but down from 13%.

Market share comparisons were Royal Mail 91%/76% and free newspapers with the remaining 9%/24%.

Conclusions – the falling attraction of free newspapers has seen all the business they have lost move into Royal Mail.

For years the publishing industry has argued that its lower entry rate should make it more attractive than Royal Mail in ROI or CPA terms.

For TLC that argument still has a value – but only if free newspapers provide the data required to interrogate the coverage suitability for any one client.

We still make free newspapers an attractive, viable proposition for many clients where we are able to, but many publishers need to up their game.

Clients are voting with their feet and their budgets; the statistics don’t lie!

We will of course be continuing our blogs throughout 2016.

Pleasingly, TLC client output continues to increase year on year, so we seem to be bucking the industry trend!

This article was written by...

– who has written 86 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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