Door drop volumes sink, but value remains unchallenged

Darryl Danielli
Friday, July 31, 2020

While the DMA’s latest report on door drops paints a bleak picture on volumes, which have fallen by almost 1bn in two years, market value has proved surprisingly resilient over the same period with many in the sector hopeful of a brighter future.

Door drops continue to have unrivalled effectiveness
Door drops continue to have unrivalled effectiveness

According to the body’s latest Annual Door Drop Industry Report, while volumes tumbled by more than 15% from 2017 to 2019 to 4.8bn items, revenue only slipped by just under 1.5% over the same period, from around £263m to £259m.

While Go Inspire Group CEO Patrick Headley thinks the downward volume trend will continue in the short term, he sees a brighter future.

“I believe it will plateau in the next couple of years, the Covid situation will result in a further fall as many D2D users stopped activity as supermarket online slots were full and restaurants were closed.

“[However, I see a] massive opportunity in future for this relatively cheap and increasingly penetrative media space. As one CMO in food retail told me “the board love the TV ads but it’s the DM and D2D drive the revenue, I call it my dirty little secret!”

In 2019, year-on-year door drop volumes fell by 600m from 5.4bn in 2018, but spend only dipped by £1m on the adjusted 2018 figure of £258m.

While door drops aren’t a core part of The Lettershop Group’s work mix, sales director Alistair Ezzy said an increase in investment per item was logical.

“It is important to stand out and create a memorable brand experience so investing more in the printed piece makes good sense. It is our belief that more interactive and memorable you can make a door drop subject to targeting and the offer the more successful the campaign will be,” he said.

DMA head of insight Tim Bond said he was disappointed by the 2019 volume results, having hoped that following a challenging 2018 for the sector, 2019 would be more positive.

“However, continued uncertainty about Brexit and a General Election just before Christmas meant it was another tricky 12 months for many brands. This is reflected in the results of this year’s analysis, with volumes reducing while spending remained steady.

“Looking forward to 2020, exactly what the impact of coronavirus means for door drops we will have to wait and see, but I believe it to be an opportunity for a medium that has proved itself time and time again.”

According to the study, as a result of lower volumes, the number of door drops delivered per household per week also continued to decline and are now down to 3.3 on average. This compares to 4.2 in 2015.

“I was surprised and disappointed about the lack of door drops hitting my doormat since the start of the lockdown,” said Lance Hill, managing director of Eight Days A Week Print Solutions.

“I firmly believe there was a great opportunity for marketers to offer an alternative to screens whilst there was a captive audience camped in at home for sustained periods of time. I do think it will pick back up longer term, but until budgets and the economy pick up slightly it will be hard to justify against low-cost digital advertising.

“The collective print and door drop media supply chain will need to work hard and collaborate to keep pushing the message about its effectiveness.”

The value of the sector promoting the effectiveness of door drops was echoed in the DMA, which highlighted the data available through JICMail, which prove that every door drop item sent reaches, on average, 1.05 people and is interacted with 2.8 times.

JICMail’s Mail Media Metrics show that almost two thirds of people read/look/glance at a door drop “right away” and the average “lifespan” of a door drop in a home is 5.6 days, with many going well beyond 28 days.

The effectiveness of door drops comes as no surprise to Go Inspire Eclipse sales director Lee Godwin: “It is a key product for us and a proven, powerful medium, our ability to combine this with data driven campaigns make this a really powerful marketing channel for brands.”

He said that number of brands have capitalised on the fact that a lot of consumers are spending more time at home as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, with the Eclipse business noting bookings for door drops have increased against other printed products.

“It’s not necessarily that volumes have increased since lockdown eased, it’s the amount of activity and interest that has increased as agencies and brands review their marketing mix.

"I agree with Tim Bond that we will have to wait and see, but it’s definitely a proven channel for acquisition and targeting loyalty so many brands will be taking that into consideration.”

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