The drop-off in credit card offers is adding to the pain of the U.S. Postal Service which reports mail volume is declining at a pace not seen since 1971. Credit card solicitations, which contributed as many as 6 billion pieces per year, will likely fall below 1.2 billion pieces this year, the lowest level in more than 20 years. CardWatch (www.cardwatch.com) reports that direct mail was off at least 70% this year, with American Express and Discover dispatching the largest credit card solicitation mailings. Secured credit card and sub-prime credit card issuers have also ratcheted up direct mail. According to Synovate’s “Mail Monitor,” U.S. households received 372.4 million offers during the first quarter, compared to 1131.6 million offers received during first quarter of 2008. The Q1 sharp drop follows a 55% decrease in the fourth quarter and a 20% decline in the third quarter. For the full year of 2008 there were 3.8 billion solicitations mailed, compared to 5.2 billion in 2007. Chicago-based Mintel Comperemedia estimates 5.4 billion credit card direct mail offers for 2008, the lowest annual total the firm has reported since 2000.
DIRECT MAIL VOLUME 1999: 2.8 billion 2000: 3.5 billion 2001: 4.9 billion 2002: 4.5 billion 2003: 3.9 billion 2004: 4.2 billion 2005: 6.0 billion 2006: 5.8 billion 2007: 5.6 billion 2008: 3.9 billion 2009: 1.2 billion (projected) Source: CardWatch.com (www.cardwatch.com)