Mailing bills and statements to American households represents a significant portion of many mail houses’ business. With consumers getting increasingly comfortable online, you may be worried that this part of your business is going to rapidly decline. Fortunately, it does not appear that this so-called “transactions mail” is going to disappear anytime soon.

A recent report by the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General and InfoTrends analyzed the mid-2014 behavior of 2 million residential customers of a major East Coast utility. While 71% of this utility’s customers paid their bill electronically, only 9% had opted to discontinue receiving their bill in the mail every month. This is despite the fact that many of the utility’s customers had set up an automatic direct payment plan on the company’s website and were prompted to convert to electronic billing every time they logged in:

CheckinMail1Source: Will the Check Be in the Mail?

While this utility’s results differ somewhat from national averages, their experience is typical. According to InfoTrend’s Customer Communications Delivery Market Sizing & Forecast: 2013-2018, while 59% of bills were paid online in 2013, only 21% of all bills were delivered electronically.

It is clear that while most consumers prefer to pay their bills online, an overwhelming majority want to receive a bill through the mail. Separate research by InfoTrends has found that consumers value the physical bill as a record-keeping device and as a reminder to pay.

Trend data for transactions mail confirm these preferences. According to the USPS’s Household Diary Study, American households received over 27 billion pieces of transactions mail in 2013, including bills, statements and nonprofit solicitations. While the volume of bill payments consumers sent through the mail decreased by 55.6% between 2005 and 2013, the amount of transactions mail consumers received declined by only 14.6% during this time. And while the number of mailed-in payments continued to decline precipitously during the last three years, the volume of transactions mail sent to households remained relatively stagnant between 2010 and 2013:

Transaction-Volume-Smaller1Until consumer preferences change drastically, a substantial drop in the volume of transactions mail businesses send out is unlikely.

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