Direct MailWith COVID-19 infection rates going down and vaccination rates going up, the nation is looking forward to post-pandemic life. For businesses, many of the changes consumers made during the pandemic are here to stay, including many that are drivers of direct mail. Here are five 2021 consumer trends that may affect your marketing.

1. Even more online shopping.

Consumers have become used to shopping online for pretty much everything from groceries to outdoor gear. According to Digital Commerce 360, consumers spent $861 billion online with U.S. retailers in 2020, up 44.0% from $598 billion in 2019. This is good news for direct mail, since direct mail is one of the primary drivers of online shopping.

Tip: In addition to mailing out physical coupons, include online coupon codes, as well.

2. Working from home has become the norm.

As many businesses experience the benefits of the “work from home” model, including higher employee productivity, greater job satisfaction, and lower absentee rates, this shift is likely to stick. This gives direct mail more impact than ever. According to one study, 88% of retail buying decisions are either made or discussed at home, and 61% of shoppers say direct mail influences their buying decisions.

Tip: Now is a great time to be shifting your marketing budget to include the channel that meets buyers where they are—at home.

3. Focus on home, family, and self-improvement.

These categories that focus on home, family, and self-improvement have shown growth as people rediscover the simpler joys of life. McKinsey has found, for example, that 28% of consumers have invested in new uses of their living spaces at home. There is no reason to think they are going back.

Tip: Try wrapping your messaging about the value of your product or service from the perspective of home, family, and self-improvement when possible.

4. Desire for the genuine, personal, and authentic.

With so many people feeling isolated over the course of the pandemic, consumers are craving communication that feels genuine, personal, and authentic. An Epsilon study found that 67% of consumers see direct mail as more personal than digital options, including online, cookie-based personalization.

Tip: Try personalization in print, which is seen as both genuine and engaging.

5. Less brand loyalty.

One of the surprises coming out of the pandemic is the decrease in brand loyalty. Due in large part to supply chain disruptions, consumers have become more willing to try new brands than they have in the past. Now is a great time to woo customers away from your competitors!

Tip: Consider launching a content marketing campaign.

There has never been a better time to send mail!

By Kat McDaniel, Principal at MEDiAHEAD

I’m currently editing a book that my father wrote about a motorcycle trip he took to Europe in 1951, after WWII. He traveled up to Quebec from Indiana and caught a freighter to the white cliffs of Dover, England.

Kat's Father's MotorcycleAfter he arrived, he purchased a WWII motorcycle (with no shocks) and rode 7,000 miles, including time in the Russian sector and all the way up to Norway and down to Spain.

He slept in barns, haystacks, youth hostels and dingy hotels. Most of his diet consisted of wine, bread and sausages in his saddlebags.

He writes halfway through the book, “my clothes are in bad shape. The cords were in shreds by the time I got to Vienna. My jacket is thread bare and my gloves have holes in them. I needed refitting in Brighton and it is necessary to travel light, as I must carry a certain amount of food with me.”

Most of Europe was still re-building from WWII and he talks about what a strange sight it was.
“First a feeling of disbelief, then wonder, then you are ashamed, because you have done this. You have knocked great buildings into great piles of rubble, into lonely walls and twisted steel. And if a building does stand, there is absolutely not one that is not completely pockmarked – chunks of plaster, stone and brick have been splattered away.”

After 7,000 miles, as he was heading to Dover, the engine finally gave out with 35 miles to go. Fortunately for him, two Tommies came along on motorcycles and gave him a ride to the ferry.

Such an unusual trip for a twenty-two year old boy from Bloomington, Indiana.

My father traveled back to Europe every year after he graduated from law school and I started going with him when I was thirteen.

He is in hospice now and his absolute favorite thing to do is reminisce about his many trips.

I’m so glad at the end of his life that he got to do all the things he wanted to and can still travel to far off places in his memories.


Kat's Father and Friends During Travels