Mail ad readership and circular shopping stats


  • Despite the rise of digital marketing, recent studies show that print circulars remain a critical element of grocers’ marketing plans.
  • Consumers still value printed circulars, with 73% regularly looking at ads that come in the mail, and 69% using circulars to plan their shopping.
  • Retailers must embrace a multichannel approach that incorporates both print and digital media to reach consumers where they are.

In the age of digital marketing, print circulars may seem like an outdated promotional tool. However, recent studies show that consumers still rely on printed ads to inform their purchasing decisions. This is why a regional grocery chain has decided to reintroduce their printed circular after discontinuing it earlier this year. Consumer demand for print circulars remains strong, making them an essential component of retailers’ marketing strategies.

Navigating Print and Digital Media in Retail Marketing Strategies

The significance of print circulars in retailers’ promotional strategies is well-established, but the current challenge lies in optimizing marketing efforts amidst the rise of digital engagement. As costs increase and profitability pressures mount, marketers are faced with the task of determining which media channels to prioritize. While print circulars remain a crucial component, finding the right balance between traditional and digital media has become a struggle. Some brands and grocers have made the mistake of overemphasizing digital media at the expense of print, resulting in a loss of customer shopping trips. It is crucial for marketers to conduct market-by-market analysis and focus on what actually works rather than solely relying on cost or other perceptions.

Consumer Data Supports the Value of Print Advertising Methods

The heart of the matter is that consumers still value printed circulars. According to recent Vericast studies, 73% of consumers regularly look at ads that come in the mail, and 69% use circulars to plan their shopping. Consumers hold on to circulars for an average of 3.5 days, which gives them ample time to plan their purchases. Also, 34% read printed store circulars, and 29% read online store circulars for coupons, discounts, or product information when planning their grocery shopping. Remarkably, 45% of consumers either hold onto the printed circular until they make their main grocery trip for the week or bring it with them to the store. With rising prices, 40% say they are spending more time reading mailed marketing and promotions, emphasizing the continuing importance of print circulars in capturing consumer attention and driving sales.

Marrying Traditional With Digital Creates a Modern Marketing Mix

The data clearly indicates that consumers are still interested in print circulars, and that retailers that ignore this channel risk being left out of consideration altogether. Retailers must embrace a multichannel approach to marketing that meets consumers where they are. This means marrying the best of what print offers with access to deals digitally as well. The multichannel approach is about meeting consumers at every touchpoint, regardless of whether they are online or in-store. The circular is an important part of this approach, as it allows retailers to reach consumers at home, where they are planning their shopping trips.

Printed circulars are not just a tool for small businesses or regional grocers. Grocery chains recognize their importance and are recommitting them into their marketing strategies. Vericast is also committed to providing retailers with the tools they need to succeed in a multichannel environment. Our Save Direct Mail solution enables retailers to distribute printed circulars featuring the latest deals and promotions to nearly 70 million households.

It’s All About Meeting the Wants and Needs of Today’s Consumers

The popularity of printed circulars is a reminder that traditional media still has a place in today’s interconnected marketplace. Consumers still value printed ads and use them to inform their purchasing decisions. Retailers that embrace a balanced approach to marketing and incorporate printed circulars into their strategies will be better positioned to succeed in a highly competitive retail landscape.

Continue Your Learning Journey

If you’re interested in delving deeper into the potential of direct mail, I recommend exploring Vericast’s “Shared Mail ebook: Direct Mail + Co-op = Win-Win-Win.” This resource examines the value of direct mail, cooperative mail, and choosing the right provider for effective and cost-efficient consumer outreach.

Source: Vericast Awareness-to-Action Study, February 2023, n = 1,825