Door drop volume and spend remain stable despite volatile market

The Data & Marketing Association (DMA UK) and JICMAIL can reveal the latest insights into the Door Drop industry in the ‘Door Drop Report 2023’.

Despite a largely unpredictable year for businesses across the UK, annual expenditure on Door Drops has remained virtually flat year-on-year, reaching a level of £181.2m (vs £182.3m in 2021). Door Drop volumes also held up relatively well at a level of 3.53 billion (vs 3.54 billion in 2021).

The DMA’s partnership with JICMAIL has merged the trade body’s industry data with the industry-standard audience measurement, resulting in the most accurate and detailed picture of the UK door drop market available – with a greater understanding into contributing factors behind annual volumes and spends.

“2022 was a year of two halves for Door Drop and the wider advertising industry. After a positive start in the first quarter, where it was performing at a three-year high, the ongoing challenges of high inflation, rising cost of living, and multi-sector strike action are likely to have had noteworthy impacts on the use of Door Drop,” said Ian Gibbs, Director of Insight at the DMA. “Overall, our latest data suggests that the Door Drop channel has held up well in a difficult advertising market. Volumes and value were virtually flat year-on-year, and mainly hampered by unprecedented issues such paper availability and rising production costs following the energy crisis. It is positive to see these issues easing off now in 2023.

A key thing to note is that Door Drop as a channel in 2022 was not just resilient – it continues to display improved levels of efficiency and effectiveness. As of Q4 2022, the average Door Drop was shared with 1.05 people per household (a metric referred to as Item Reach), reflecting an additional 5% audience reach on top of campaign volumes. In addition, the average person in the UK interacts with each Door Drop 3.1 times a month.

Door Drops cover a broad range of target audiences and sectors

Younger audiences continue to present additional targeting opportunities for advertisers in the mail channel.

While all age groups measured have seen their Door Drop engagement increase since 2018, the under 35 category has overtaken the other two age cohorts and – despite those aged 55+ narrowing the gap during 2022 – they remain the most engaged age group overall.

Door Drop frequency by household co-ordinator age

The chart below provides a perspective on the key advertiser sectors responsible for Door Drop volumes. Roughly the same amount of sectors have seen volumes increase this year compared to last year, with some larger sectors experiencing modest double-digit growth (e.g. supermarkets were around +10%) and others with smaller increases, but plenty of opportunity to grow volumes (such as local and national tradespersons).

The growing use of the Door Drop channel among multiple, diverse sectors is indicative of it offering flexibility and effectiveness – even in an era dominated by digital advertising.

Door Drop advertiser sector growth (2022)

Gibbs added: “The days of major Door Drop-using brands distributing hundreds of millions of them every year may be gone, but the client base using the medium is now much bigger and more widespread. The supermarket, retail, tradesperson, and charity sectors have particularly sustained volumes in 2022.”

The DMA’s Print Council Door Drop Hub concluded: “The channel is performing well and with issues around paper prices, industrial action, and instability in government behind us, we’re hopeful of seeing confidence return during 2023 so that even more clients can take advantage of Door Drop performance. Recent years have shown us that predictions are tricky to say the least, but if projections for inflation to fall into 2024 are accurate, then 2023 may bring a reverse of what we have seen in this report; with volume and spend growing once again.”

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