DIRECTWATCH: A weekly analysis of the direct marketing field in association with Royal Mail

March 2000 was a mixed month for consumer direct mail. Financial services activity rose on last year, while non-financial mail fell sharply in most areas; and although total spend of pounds 141m was 11% up on February, it was 7.5% down on March 1999, while the number of companies mailing was 20% down on last year.

March 2000 was a mixed month for consumer direct mail. Financial

services activity rose on last year, while non-financial mail fell

sharply in most areas; and although total spend of pounds 141m was 11%

up on February, it was 7.5% down on March 1999, while the number of

companies mailing was 20% down on last year.



But it is premature to sound the death knell just yet. First, growth in

mail in January and February was particularly strong at the expense of

March. Second, DM spend for the first quarter of 2000 was 8% up on last

year, a faster growth rate than most other media. Third, there is no

indication that major mailers are curbing their mailing on a long-term

basis.



A rise in credit card mailers from 19 last year to 24 and continued

heavy DM by Morgan Stanley Dean Witter and Capital One more than

compensated for Bank One’s withdrawal from DM in March. This month’s

drop in health and beauty DM is almost entirely due to sharp falls in

activity by opticians and hearing aid companies; and the drop in

mail-order activity seems to be related to seasonal catalogues and

reorganisations over the past year involving Andre de Brett, Daxon and

others.



The number of creatives from publishers, car manufacturers and motor and

home insurers rose or held firm, indicating better segmentation. The top

three creatives were by Experian (survey), Capital One (Platinum Visa)

and BCA (Club Highlights).



CONSUMER DIRECT MAIL ADVERTISING

                                   Number of            Estimated spend

                             creative executions          in pounds m

Market area                    March     March         March       March

                                2000      1999          2000        1999

Financial                        795       902         48.31       43.76

   Cards                         120        79         17.95        8.78

   Investments                    11       110          0.94        6.07

   ISAs and savings              101        48          5.96        2.36

   Life and pensions             110       119          4.20        5.93

   Mortgages                      26        28          1.24        1.10

   Motor/home insurance          130       130          4.53        6.67

   Personal loans                142       142          8.13        7.05

   Other financial               155       246          5.36        5.80

Non-financial                   1109      1263         93.14      190.10

   Automotive                    117        91          4.22        4.80

   FMCG                           21        28          6.86        6.20

   Gardening/household            95       195          5.53        8.50

   Health and beauty              75        90          4.11        8.80

   Holiday/travel/leisure         76       156          5.88        7.20

   Mail order                    418       448         25.16       33.10

   Publications/music            224       169         16.13       18.40

   Retail                         83        86          2.83        3.90

   Utilities/telecoms            145       108          6.27        5.30

   Other                          70        34         16.15       12.90



ACNielsen MMS monitors direct mail activity and spend using a panel of

10,000 people profiled and weighted to be representative of the UK

population. Spend is estimated by multiplying grossed-up mailing volumes

against average post and production costs for mailpacks in each

area.



Data does not include requested items, door-drops or inserts. Detailed

information on direct mail is available via marketmovements.com.



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