Men aged 18 to 34 are avid readers of grocery direct mail: Vertis

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Ninety percent of males between the ages of 18 and 34 who receive direct mail read grocery store direct mail pieces, compared to 83 percent of female direct mail readers in this same age group.

This was a key finding from Baltimore-based Vertis Communications' 2007 Customer Focus: Retail Direct survey. The survey of 2,000 adults was conducted by Pittsburgh-based research firm Marshall Marketing & Communications Inc. by phone in August and September of 2006.

"The most surprising finding regarding grocery direct mail from this survey is that men now make up more than 40 percent of all grocery direct mail readers, a 6 percent increase from 2005," said Scott Marden, director of marketing research for Vertis Communications.

The study found that men in older age groups are less likely to read grocery store direct mail, while older women read increasingly more.

Eighty percent of men from 35 to 49 years of age and 79 percent of men aged 50 and older say they read grocery store direct mail pieces. However, 88 percent of women aged 35 to 49 and 89 percent of women aged 50 and older indicate they read direct mail pieces from grocery store retailers.

The study's findings show that while 67 percent of middle-aged men (35 to 49) read direct mail items from a value retailer, an overwhelming 87 percent of women this same age group read this same category of direct mail.

Vertis' retail study also shows 74 percent of younger men aged 18 to 34 responded to retail direct mail that offers a discount off one single item, compared to only 61 percent of women the same age.

This group of men also seems to be enticed by gift card mail offers, with 58 percent responding to this type of direct mail, compared to 53 percent of their female peers.

However, results indicate attraction to gift cards sharply declines with a man's age, as only 36 percent of men aged 35 to 49 and 33 percent of men 50 and older indicate they've responded to direct mail offering retail gift cards.

The study also revealed the following:

· Eighty-eight percent of total adults indicate they read direct mail items issued from discount retailers. However, direct mail issued from upscale department stores seems to be least popular, with only 31 percent of all adults indicating they read such direct mail items. Click here for additional statistics.

· Looking across generations, 78 percent of Generation X consumers (born between 1965 and 1976) say they read direct mail pieces from a value retailer, compared to 73 percent of Generation Y consumers (those born between 1977 and 1994).

· Thirty-seven percent of Gen Y consumers have responded to retail-direct mail offering a gift with purchase, as opposed to 30 percent of baby boomers (those born between 1946 and 1964) and 31 percent of total adults. Click here for full chart.

· Additionally, 70 percent of Gen Y consumers surveyed indicate they have responded to retail-direct mail with a percent off discount, compared to 61 percent of baby boomers and 63 percent of total adults.

· Seventy-six percent of consumers with an annual income of $100,000 or more have responded to "buy one get one free" retail-direct mail offers, compared to 72 percent of consumers earning $30,000 or less a year who have responded to the same offer.

· Similarly, 69 percent of consumers earning $100,000 or more each year have responded to direct mail offering percentage off a retail purchase, as opposed to 59 percent of consumers making an annual salary of $30,000 or less.

· By comparison, 35 percent of adults with a household income of $30,000 or less have responded to direct mail pieces offering gifts with purchase, and 32 percent have responded to loyalty card offers, while only 27 percent of adults with a household income of $100,000 or more have responded to these same incentives.

· While 26 percent of total adults plan to participate in a sweepstakes or contest in the coming year, 28 percent of consumers surveyed with an annual household income of $100,000 or higher surprisingly mention the same sweepstakes plans. Click here for full chart.

· Comparably, 29 percent of adults with an annual household income of $30,000 or less plan to participate in a sweepstakes or contest in the next 12 months, and only 25 percent of consumers with an income between $30,000 and $50,000 plan to participate in a similar contest.

Mr. Marden said that when a new target audience emerges, grocery marketers need to develop an understanding of what's most important to that audience and communicate the ability to meet their needs the best they can.

"For example, male direct mail readers, when compared to their female counterparts, are less likely to have responded to coupons and gift with purchase but were equally responsive to sweepstakes and grand openings in the retail direct mail they responded to in the past 30 days," he said. "Another example of the differences between male and female grocery direct mail readers would be their thoughts surrounding private label products: While only 29 percent of women respond negatively toward private label products, the percentage of men with negative feelings jumps to 41 percent."

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