The Household Diary Study Mail Use & Attitudes in FY 2008

United States Postal Service
John Mazzone – Economist
John Pickett – Manager, Demand Forecasting and Economic Analysis
Finance Department

United States Postal Service Headquarters
475 L’Enfant Plaza, SW RM 8600
Washington, D.C. 20260-5323

March 2009, Contract# 102592-02-B-1502

NuStats
206 Wild Basin Road, Suite A-300
Austin, Texas  78746

Table of Contents

E        Executive Summary  1

Background  1

Overview  1

Mail Markets  1

1        Chapter 1:  Introduction – Volumes & Trends  5

The Survey  5

U.S. Postal Service Volumes  5

Mail Flows  9

Household Mail 9

Classes and Markets  10

Report Organization  10

2        Chapter 2:  Profile of Mail Usage  13

Introduction  13

Mail Volume and Demographics  13

Characteristics of Higher- and Lower-Volume Households  14

Demographic Characteristics of U.S. Households  15

Use of the Post Office  18

3        Chapter 3:  Correspondence  21

Introduction  21

Correspondence Mail Volume  21

Correspondence Mail and Household Characteristics  21

Personal Correspondence  24

Business Correspondence  27

4        Chapter 4:  Transactions  29

Introduction  29

Transactions Mail Volume  29

Transactions Mail and Household Characteristics  30

Bill Payment 32

Bills and Statements Received  36

5        Chapter 5:  Advertising Mail 39

Introduction  39

The Advertising Market 39

Advertising Mail Volumes  40

Advertising Mail and Household Characteristics  42

Senders of Advertising Mail 44

Attitudes Toward Advertising  44

Effectiveness of Advertising Mail 47

6        Chapter 6:  Periodicals  49

Introduction  49

The Periodical Market 49

Advertising’s Impact on Periodicals  50

Household Periodicals Volume  50

Periodicals Mail and Household Characteristics  52

Subscription Type  53

Volume Drivers  55

7        Chapter 7:  Packages  57

Introduction  57

The Package Market 57

Postal Service Package Volume  59

Packages and Household Characteristics  60

Household Package Contents  63

A        Appendix A:  Comparative Tables 1987, 2007, and 2008

Concordance

A1. Total Mail Overview

A2. First-Class Mail

A3. Standard Mail (A)

A4. Direct Mail Advertising

A5. Periodicals

A6. Packages & Expedited (This section has been redacted)

A7. Electronic Communications

A8. Annual Trends

B        Appendix B:  Methodology

Study Design and Methodology

Sample Design

Data Collection Method

Data Processing

Sample Demographic Profile (all counts unweighted), Government Fiscal Year 2008

Data Weighting and Expansion

Weighting Procedures – FY 2008 Diary Data

Adjustment Factors

C        Appendix C:  Survey Instruments

C1. Recruitment Questionnaire

C2. Diary Package

            Advance Letter

            Diary Package Cover Letter

            Instruction Booklet

            Photo Quick Start

            Question Booklet

            Answer Booklet

            Daily Envelope

            Gift Selection Form

            "I'm Done. . . ." Card

List of Tables and Figures

E        Executive Summary  1

Table E.1:  Mail Received and Sent by Households  1

Table E.2:  Household Mail Volume Received and Sent by Market Served  2

Table E.3:  Advertising by Mail Class  2

Table E.4:  Periodical Type Received  2

Table E.5:  Packages Received and Sent via the U.S. Postal Service  3

1        Chapter 1:  Introduction – Volumes & Trends  5

Table 1.1:  Total Mail Volume: FY 1987, 2006, 2007, and 2008  6

Table 1.2:  Total Mail: Revenue, Pieces, and Weight by Shape, FY 2008  7

Table 1.3:  Total Mail: Revenue and Weight per Piece by Shape, FY 2008  8

Table 1.4a:  Total Domestic Mail Flows  9

Table 1.4b:  Domestic Mail Flows per Household per Week  9

Table 1.5:  Mail Received and Sent by Households  9

Table 1.6:  Pieces Received and Sent per Household  9

Table 1.7:  Mail Received and Sent by Households  10

2        Chapter 2:  Profile of Mail Usage  13

Table 2.1:  Mail Volume and Demographics Average Annual Growth 1981-2008  13

Table 2.2:  Characteristics of Higher- and Lower-Mail-Volume Households  15

Table 2.3:  Education of Higher- and Lower-Mail-Volume Households  15

Table 2.4:  Households by Income and Education  16

Table 2.5:  Households by Income and Age  16

Table 2.6:  Households by Size  16

Table 2.7:  Households by Number of Adults  17

Table 2.8:  Households by Type of Internet Access  17

Figure 2.1:  PC Ownership and Internet Access  17

Figure 2.2:  Broadband Subscribers  18

Figure 2.3:  Household Use of Rented Mailboxes  18

Figure 2.4:  Household Visits to Post Office in Past Month  19

3        Chapter 3:  Correspondence  21

Table 3.1:  First-Class Correspondence Mail Sent and Received by Sector 21

Table 3.2:  Correspondence Mail Received by Income and Education  22

Table 3.3:  Correspondence Mail Sent by Income and Education  22

Table 3.4:  Correspondence Mail Received by Income and Age  22

Table 3.5:  Correspondence Mail Sent by Income and Age  23

Table 3.6:  Correspondence Mail Received and Sent by Household Size  23

Table 3.7:  Correspondence Mail Received and Sent by Number of Adults in Household  23

Table 3.8:  Correspondence Mail Received and Sent by Type of Internet Access  23

Table 3.9:  Income and Education by Type of Internet Access  23

Table 3.10:  Personal Correspondence Sent and Received  24

Figure 3.1:  Personal Correspondence Sent by Income Group  25

Figure 3.2:  Personal Correspondence Sent by Age Cohort 25

Figure 3.3:  Holiday Greetings Received by Age and Income, FY 2006, 2007 and 2008  26

Table 3.11:  Personal Correspondence by Type of Internet Access  26

Figure 3.4:  Daily Personal E-mails Sent and Received  27

Table 3.12:  Business Correspondence Type (Sent and Received) by Sector (Millions of Pieces) 27

4        Chapter 4:  Transactions  29

Table 4.1:  Transactions Mail Sent and Received  29

Table 4.2:  Transactions Mail Received by Income and Education  30

Table 4.3:  Transactions Mail Sent by Income and Education  31

Table 4.4:  Transactions Mail Received by Income and Age  31

Table 4.5:  Transactions Mail Sent by Income and Age  31

Table 4.6:  Transactions Mail Received and Sent by Household Size  31

Table 4.7:  Transactions Mail Received and Sent by Number of Adults in Household  32

Table 4.8:  Transactions Mail Received and Sent by Internet Access  32

Table 4.9:  Income and Education by Type of Internet Access  32

Table 4.10:  Bill Payment by Method, FY 2006, 2007, and 2008  33

Figure 4.1:  Monthly Average Household Bill Payment by Method  33

Figure 4.2:  Average Monthly Automatic Deductions per Household  34

Table 4.11:  Types of Bills Paid by Mail 34

Figure 4.3:  Average Bills Paid per Month by Income and Age  35

Figure 4.4:  Bill Payment Method by Age  35

Table 4.12:  Bill and Statement Volumes by Industry  36

Figure 4.5:  Statements Received by Mail by Income  37

Table 4.13:  Average Monthly Bills and Statements Received by Method  37

5        Chapter 5:  Advertising Mail 39

Table 5.1:  U.S. Advertising Spending by Medium, 2006-2008  39

Figure 5.1:  Direct Mail as a Share of Total Advertising, 1990-2008  39

Table 5.2:  Advertising Mail by Mail Classification  41

Table 5.3:  Advertising Mail by Mail Classification  41

Table 5.4:  Advertising Mail Received by Income and Education  42

Table 5.5:  Advertising Mail Received by Income and Age  43

Table 5.6:  Advertising Mail Received by Size of Household  43

Table 5.7:  Advertising Mail Received by Number of Adults  43

Table 5.8:  Advertising Mail Received by Internet Access  44

Table 5.9:  Income and Education by Type of Internet Access  44

Figure 5.2:  Advertising Volumes for First-Class and Standard Mail Advertising by Sender Type  44

Figure 5.3:  Advertising Mail Behavioral Trends – 1987, 2006, 2007 and 2008  45

Figure 5.4:  Treatment of Standard Mail by Type  46

Figure 5.5:  Treatment of Standard Advertising Mail by Number of Standard Mail Pieces Received per Week  46

Table 5.10: Intended Response to Advertising Mail by Class  47

Figure 5.6:  Weekly Number of Responses by Income  47

6        Chapter 6:  Periodicals  49

Figure 6.1:  Periodicals Mail Volume per Person – 1971 to 2008  49

Figure 6.2:  Real Per-Capita Consumer Magazine Advertising Spending  50

Table 6.1:  Periodical Type by Year 51

Figure 6.3:  Newspaper Circulation – 1970 to 2008  51

Figure 6.4:  Daily Newspaper Readership – 1987 to 2008  52

Table 6.2:  Periodicals by Income and Education  52

Table 6.3:  Periodicals by Income and Age  53

Table 6.4:  Periodicals by Size of Household  53

Table 6.5:  Periodicals by Number of Adults in Household  53

Table 6.6:  Periodicals by Type of Internet Access  53

Figure 6.5:  Subscription Type by Year 54

Table 6.7:  Periodicals by Sender Type  54

Figure 6.6:  Number of Periodicals Received per Week by Households by Income Group  55

7        Chapter 7:  Packages  57

Table 7.1:  Total Package Market Volume Growth  58

Figure 7.1:  Package Delivery Market Segment Share  58

Table 7.6:  Postal Service Sent and Received Packages, FY 2006, 2007, and FY 2008  59

Figure 7.2:  Postal Service Sent and Received Packages by Household Income  60

Table 7.7:  Postal Service Received Packages by Income and Age  60

Table 7.8:  Postal Service Sent Packages by Income and Age  60

Table 7.9:  Postal Service Received Packages by Income and Education  61

Table 7.10:  Postal Service Sent Packages by Income and Education  61

Table 7.11:  Postal Service Received and Sent Packages  by Size of Household  62

Table 7.12:  Postal Service Received and Sent Packages  by Number of Adults in Household  62

Table 7.13:  Received and Sent Packages by Household Internet Access  62

Table 7.14:  Contents of Postal Service Sent and Received Packages  63

Executive Summary

This report documents the findings of the United States Postal Service’s Household Diary Study (HDS) for Fiscal Year (FY) 2008. The three main study purposes are to:

·         Measure the mail sent and received by U.S. households,

·         Provide a means to track household mail trends over time, and

·         Make comparisons of mail use between different types of households. 

The report examines these trends in the context of changes and developments in the wider markets for communications and package delivery.

Background

The Household Diary Study survey, fielded continuously since 1987, aims to collect information on household use of the mail and how that use changes over time. The survey collects household information on demographics, lifestyle, attitudes toward mail and advertising, bill payment behavior, and use of the Internet and other information technologies.

The FY 2008 report covers Government Fiscal Year 2008, with comparisons to 2006 and 2007.

The HDS collects information on household mail use and provides a look at how that use changes over time.

Overview

In 2008, U.S. households received 148.6 billion pieces of mail, and sent 21.3 billion, as seen in Table E.1. Mail sent or received by households constituted 81 percent of total domestic mail in FY 2008. Fifty-six percent of the mail households received was sent Standard Mail. Only four percent of household mail (and about three percent of total mail) was sent between households; the rest was sent between households and non-households.

Table E.1: Mail Received and Sent by Households (Billions of Pieces)

<

Mail Classification

Received

Sent

First-Class Mail

57.2

20.8

Standard Regular Mail

69.4

Standard Nonprofit Mail

13.6