September 25, 2018

Direct Mail consumption through the life stages

In our previous article we explored Royal Mail MarketReach research and looked at Correlation Between Age and Direct Mail Interaction. Now let us guide you further through the research and highlight how mail is consumed through different life stages. 

The study separates the participants by age and also by their life stage:

  • Fledgelings – adults living in their Parents’ home,
  • Sharers – adults living in shared accommodation with other adults,
  • Couples – with no children,
  • Young families – one or more children,
  • Older families – living with at least one child at secondary school,
  • Empty Nesters – no longer living with children,
  • Older retirees – singles or couples with pensions or investment as an income.


FLEDGELINGS – adults living in the home of their patents – 3 million in the UK

It’s easy to assume that as digital natives engrossed in social activities, fledgelings don’t engage with mail. However, 23% bought or ordered something as a result of receiving personalised Direct Mail in the past 12 months. Moreover, 38% agree they are more likely to look at mail printed on high-quality materials and 32% more likely to trust information in print than information on the internet. Although, they are more likely than older groups to respond digitally than by post or the phone.

“Lauren received a catalogue from Capital Hair and Beauty which she shared not only with her friends but also her Nan, who tends to purchase in store.”


SHARERS – adults living in shared accommodation with other adults – 1.9 million in the UK

Like Fledgelings, Sharers report receiving low levels of personalised mail. Many utility companies may send information addressed to the landlord or only one of the roommates, so they receive few bills or statements. For the same reason, 49% more likely to feel reassured about the sender’s service or product as a result. As well as, 45% more likely to find mail memorable and 75% more likely to buy or order something as a result of door drops.

“I do like getting the Chelsea magazine. It’s glossy and does have some interesting articles in it. So, I tend to keep it around the living room for a week or two.” John.


COUPLES – with no children – 6.4 million in the UK

Couples, as well as Sharers, are more likely to say they don’t know who takes responsibility for managing the mail. 22% of them visited a store as a result of receiving personalised mail. And 26 bought or ordered something and 16% looked for more information online.

“I received a booklet from estate agents: a property magazine, and I actually bought my house from the info that it was advertised with – off plan – and I got quite a good deal.” Stephen from Manchester.


YOUNG FAMILIES – one or more children – 8.5 million in the UK

It’s no surprise that Young Families embrace mail. They begin to receive more – they start new relationships with brands, retailers, health and local community organisations. More than 30% of them bought or ordered something because of receiving personalised Direct Mail. More than 23% more likely to have referred to mail whilst online and 24% more likely to go online to make an enquiry/request for more information as a result of mail campaign.

Greg and his wife have two young children. Like others, Greg thought he had very little interaction with mail before keeping his diary, but this proved to be inaccurate. Among the items he looked at and responded to were: an appointment for a flu jab for one of his children, a door-drop for a local guttering company which he enquired about online and then phoned to book, and a voucher for H&M which he shared with his wife and filed for online purchase, among others.


OLDER FAMILIES – living with at least one child at secondary school – 3.7 million in the UK

In most areas, Older Families are above average in their actions and response to mail. They buy or order as a result of it, go to stores because of it, file it, refer to it, follow up any queries using phone or internet, and use the vouchers mail provides.

27% bought or ordered something upon receiving personalised Direct Mail. Moreover, 52% used a voucher they received in the mail, 39% have kept mail they received, and more than 30% more likely to say that advertising helps them choose what they buy.

“I like the occasional new season brochure from Boden/Hush as I like their clothes… brochure is good to bookmark pages but if I buy it’s almost always online. I like the content… nice quality clothing always photographed well.” Heather, London


EMPTY NESTERS – no longer living with children – 10 million in the UK

For 72% of Empty Nesters opening the post is part of their daily routine, on average they spent 18 minutes reading it. 26% bought something because of Direct Mail and 32% renewed a subscription to a product or service as a result of receiving mail.

“A brochure from Cotton Traders a few years ago tempted me to send off by post for clothing and shoes… I have since transferred to online ordering from Cotton Traders which I do fairly regularly.” Jackie, Manchester.


OLDER RETIREES – singles or couples with pensions or investment as an income – 6 million in the UK

They have the highest claimed viewing of TV and the lowest claimed usage of online from all age groups. Older retirees are the group which most keep mail for reference – 43%. 32% of them say they responded to mail in the last year and 72% like receiving mail if it is relevant to them.

To see where they’re going (cruise brochure)  “… And then I did go on their website to look into it from that. But actually, having it in the catalogue, it’s easy to show anyone I want to show it to – where I’m thinking of going.” Dorothy, Lancing.




Source, the life stages of Mail.  Royal Mail MarketReach, June 2018.

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