Mail Volume Is Not Eroding, Pitney Bowes Study Finds

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WASHINGTON--Despite a pessimistic view that mail volume is eroding because of e-mail and other electronic substitutes, some mail categories have increased while other volumes are generally flat.

These results are from the Pitney Bowes study "Electronic Substitution for Mail: Models and Results; Myth and Reality." Michael Reynolds, director of strategy at Pitney Bowes, discussed the study at the quarterly Mailers' Technical Advisory Committee meeting yesterday.

Findings included:

· People with Internet access are much more likely to receive mail.

· Broadband is not affecting mail volumes.

· Compared with the First-Class mail slowdown, bills and statements are growing strongly in key industries such as banking, insurance and telecommunications.

· Consumers in technology-intensive countries still prefer to receive letter invoices but prefer to pay online.

· Business-to-household mail is still growing slowly, and business-to-business mail has begun to decline.

· Worksharing discounts have led to an increase in total mail volume, but at the expense of single-piece business mail.

· Consumers still prefer mail and paper for a range of documents, such as financial documents and new product announcements.

· The long predicted "generational effect" has not materialized. All generations step up their mail usage as they age.

In general, Reynolds said "substitution has already happened for simple transactions where there is a direct substitute. [But] substitution is evolving more gradually for other transactions, and the long-term effects of substitution are still ill-understood for many mailed transactions."

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