Snail Mail’s Popularity in the Digital Age

letters being put in the mail box
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Any kid from the 90s or earlier decade remembers using blendable markers, clear stamps, and stickers to decorate gift cards, notebooks, scrapbooks, and the like. Snail mail is another popular medium where stamps and stickers are added for a personal touch.

With the popularity of email and mobile messaging applications, you would think that snail mail is on the downtrend. But while the volume of physical mail fell by 43 percent since 2001, young adults reportedly get the same thrill as their older peers when they receive snail mail.

Snail Mail Feels More Personal

A staggering 70 percent of surveyed persons feel that direct mail is more personal than emails or ads seen on the internet. About the same number of people prefer receiving unsolicited offers through traditional mail.

When you think about online habits, the numbers start to make sense. Compared to the 20 to 30 percent of emails that get opened, 90 percent of people who receive direct mail open these packages. Reading physical mail is also found to be useful by 79 percent of consumers than reading what they receive online.

Millennials (and the Older Generation) Find It Trustworthy

About 92 percent of younger people aged 22 to 37—in short, millennials—find printed words more trustworthy than their digital counterparts. This is backed by the fact that 92 percent of millennials who have received direct mail had their purchasing decisions influenced by these materials.

Adults aged under 30, some 36 percent find joy in checking their mailboxes—raise that by 56 percent and you’ve got the average for people aged 65 and up.

The effect snail mail has on younger folks was not lost on the U.S. Postal Service. In their studies, they discovered that 80 percent of millennial respondents feel good about the postal service. The service is using snail mail’s natural advantages against surveillance and technological advances to boost its popularity among young adults.

Shopping Catalogs are Still Popular

Even with the onset of e-commerce, online shoppers still love seeing potential purchases offline. Creative departments metaphorically earn their bread through 60 percent of online shoppers who love receiving shopping catalogs in the mail. Young shoppers, about 92 percent of them, also prefer receiving advertisements through snail mail when deciding what to buy next.

Handwriting Feels Great

handwritten letter

Not everyone has the best flowing script. However, handwriting and sending custom mail still feels great. As an author described it, custom snail mail feels like sending gift-wrapped words.

Calligraphy has had a resurgence and social media accounts are built around the art of writing poetic verses as prettily as one could. The art also makes for great custom fonts and posters that independent businesses have grown fond of.

Even when the piece of snail mail feels like more work than email, some writing experts say that even the smallest note can feel special. When words elude the writer, they can send a postcard they’ve decorated themselves or blank card art that the recipient can appreciate. Holiday card lists may be sent en masse, but the note written on it could be customized for each recipient.

Snail mail and direct mail are still effective tools for communication and advertisements. So, bust out your clear stamps and stickers—or rally your design department, if you’re running a business—and start sending out physical mails again.

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