Capital One plunges down list of biggest direct mail spenders

LONDON - Capital One has slashed its spending on direct mail by 83%, according to the latest media spend data.

The credit card firm spent just £6.3m on direct mail in the year to June, down from £36.9m the previous year.

This means the brand plummets from second to 53rd in the list of direct mail spenders, supplied by Nielsen Media Research.

The biggest spending brand was MBNA Europe, which spent just over £35m over the period, on more than 77m pieces of mail.

Halifax, Lloyds TSB and Barclaycard all retain their place in the top ten spenders. But BSkyB falls from fourth to ninth, after a decrease in spend of 45% to £16.2m.

The figures, published in this week's Marketing, reveal that brands are spending less direct mail, but the decline has slowed compared to last year, suggesting it may be levelling off.

Overall spend on direct mail fell to £1.57bn between July 2007 and June 2008 - a decline of 6.2% year-on-year, compared to a 10% drop the previous year.

Experts say the decline can be attributed to a general downturn in marketing expenditure, and the fact that other direct marketing channels, such as email, are cheaper to use.

The industry has also come under pressure from green-minded consumers for the inevitable waste it creates.

Finance, by far the biggest sector for direct mail, is down 3.5% year-on-year to £522.9m; while number two category mail order has fallen by almost 20% to £352.7m. Charities, the third biggest sector, is down 5.6% to £216.6m.

There is some good news for the industry, in that travel and transport companies and household equipment suppliers have increased spend on direct mail by 35.5% and 27.2% respectively.

The survey uses a panel of 10,000 consumers, who forward their direct mail on to Nielsen for analysis.

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