The United Postal Service, trying to stem the tide of financial losses, has proposed a 5-day delivery schedule. Elimination of Saturday delivery each week would save between $2 billion and $3.5 billion dollars according to different studies. Opponents of eliminating Saturday delivery cite among their arguments that it would hurt direct marketers that rely on the Postal Service to reach their customers. The reality is that direct marketers have cut back on their use of mail as a communications channel. Direct mail volume dropped by 9 billion pieces in 2009 to 202 billion pieces.
The reduction in direct mail volume has been impacted in the short term by the recession. A long term change is that marketers are using more channels to reach their audiences, namely e-mail and social media. Eliminating one day of mail delivery will do no more harm to direct marketers than the shift to other media has already inflicted. What will be needed is careful planning to time the drop of direct mail pieces, particularly when they are time sensitive such as sale catalogs. As Hamilton Davison, president-executive director of the American Catalog Mailers Association, puts it “It doesn’t do any good to have something delivered two days after the sale is over” (no wonder he is the voice of the catalog industry with insightful logic like that… sorry, I could not resist!).
In the final analysis, if marketing mail volume continues to decrease it would not be because of a switch to a 5-day delivery schedule. And, the proposed move would not put USPS at a competitive disadvantage against UPS and FedEx in serving the B2C e-commerce market.
Response Magazine – “Five-Day Postal Week Doable for DR”