While direct mail volume is declining overall due to cost increases and the current state of the economy, research firm Interquest Ltd. predicts the volume of direct mail produced on digital presses will grow 2% to 3% per year annually from 2008 to 2013.
“What’s going to help digital is the desire of mailers to personalize their offers, particularly with color,” said Gilles Biscos, president of Interquest. “More marketers are using integrated campaigns that combine direct mail pieces with the Internet or e-mail, and these efforts are personalized.”
Facilitating the growing use of personalization is the introduction of a new generation of inkjet presses that combine many of the benefits of offset printing with those of digital printing.
“With the arrival of the new high-speed inkjet digital presses, people will move away from using offset printed shells [in their direct mail campaigns] and will use inkjet presses to print the entire piece,” Biscos said.
With new inkjet presses from HP, Océ, Kodak and others offering quality, speed, low cost per piece and the ability to produce tens of millions of pieces per month, Biscos expects to see more printers adding personalization to their skill set.
“These high-quality inkjet presses are going to be used by large commercial printers that haven’t been that involved in digital color direct mail printing so far,” said Biscos. To date, the field has been dominated by direct mail printers such as DME, Direct Group and Anderson Direct Marketing, to name a few.
Interquest predicts full-color single-pass digital output will increase from 8.58 billion impressions in 2008 to 22.53 billion impressions in 2013. By 2013, full-color digital output will account for one-third of digitally produced direct mail, and digital output overall will account for approximately one-fourth of all direct mail printing.