Credit Card Direct Mail Up 21% in Quarter

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U.S. consumers received 21 percent more direct mail credit card offers in the first quarter of 2004 than they did in fourth-quarter 2003, according to a report by market research firm Synovate.


Through its Mail Monitor direct mail tracking service, the Chicago company determined that about 1.28 billion credit card solicitations went out in the first quarter, which was up not only from the previous quarter but also was an 8 percent increase from the same quarter last year.


In the first quarter, an average of 73 percent of households received 5.3 credit card offers monthly with those offers generating response rates of 0.4 percent.


Credit card issuers that previously had cut back on direct mail contributed to the growth, Synovate said. Another factor was an effort to beat future interest rate increases.


Reward and cash rebate offers grew to 376.5 million in Q1 2004 versus 214.8 million in Q1 2003.


"The modestly improving economic outlook for 2004 combined with continued low interest rates has prompted issuers to increase their mail activity," Andrew Davidson, vice president of competitive tracking services for Synovate's financial services practice, said in a statement. "We have seen card mail volume steadily increasing on a monthly basis since the third quarter last year. In fact, March 2004 mail volume was at 473 million, which is the highest monthly volume we have seen since November 2001."


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