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Fall in financial services mail balanced by B2B rise

LONDON - Business-to-business mail continued to increase in the second quarter of 2004 but this was offset by a drop in financial service mailings, according to the latest figures from Direct Mail Information.

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B2B volumes in the April to June quarter increased by 2.2% to 369.81m items year on year. However, with financial mail volume down by 8.5%, total consumer mail volume saw a slight decline of 1.3% over the same period in 2003 at 1.048bn items.

This resulted in an overall combined volume figure for the quarter of 1.418bn items -- a 0.4% decrease year on year.

On the consumer front, there were some significant volume increases in the quarter, most notably with the government increasing year-on-year mailing activity by 34.8%. Volume in the health sector was up 17.7% and the education and manufacturing sectors saw respective rises of 12.8% and 11.2%.

The figures show that only the AB socio-economic group saw a rise in their direct mail receipt, up 8.1%. The largest decrease was in the C2 group, where volume decreased by 8.5% year on year.

Receipt by the 16-34 and 35-44 age groups declined in the quarter. All other age groups saw an increase, with the largest in the 55-64 age group, up by +13.8%.

Total expenditure on direct mail over the quarter also fell marginally, down 1.1% year on year at £539.4m.

Jo Howard Brown, DMIS managing director, said: "The figures simply reflect what the industry in general is telling us -- the financial services sector is going through a difficult period and, as the largest mailers, this impacts on the overall volume figures. Elsewhere, the signs are still encouraging and a recovery in the financial sector is sure to see volume and expenditure begin to rise again."

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