Key Notes Vol. 02 No. 46

UPDATE:  2016 Postage BudgetingChief Marketing and Sales Officer Jim Cochrane told the members of the Mailers Technical Advisory Committee (MTAC) this week the USPS will not be filing a general postage increase for Market Dominant Products (Catalogs and Magazines) in 2016.   In addition, USPSCFO Joe Corbett broke even bigger news by conceding that the exigent surcharge of 4.3% will be removed around April 2016.  (Editor Note:  There is a very slight chance of legislative reform, but with these big announcements we believe it’s the strongest signal yet for 2016 postage budgeting).
USPS EDDM Volume DeclinesMany printers have found that Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM) is an interesting product offering for select customers.  Rather than treat this as a gateway service to more sophisticated use of the mails, USPS has raised prices in the hopes of increasing revenues.  Volumes have declined and higher prices have not made up the difference.  Between Oct/Dec 2013 and Apr/Jan 2015 the number of pieces has declined 103.6 million.  Source:  What They Think
Public Favors Giving Postal Service More Freedom to Act Like a Business On the heels of the news of a posted a net loss of $5.1 billion for FY2015, a new survey of a representative panel of registered voters finds large bipartisan majorities recommend Congress should let USPS act more like a business in ways that would dramatically improve its financial position, according to the results of a Citizen Cabinet survey released today by Voice Of the People.  Source:  Voice of the People
2015 Mailing Industry Job StudyThe Envelope Manufacturing Association (EMA) Foundation for Paper-Based Communications’ Institute for Postal Studies has just released the 2015 EMA Mailing Industry Job Study.  The study reveals that the overall impact of the industry remains strong.  The study determined that there were approximately 7.5 million jobs and $1.4 trillion in sales revenue associated with the mailing industry in 2014, the most recent year for which data is available.  Source:  EMA
USPS 2015 Fiscal Year Review The U.S. Postal Service has reported a $5.1 billion loss for the 2015 fiscal year.  Despite the glaring negative numbers, the final budget for the USPS in 2015 had some bright spots. Revenue increased, the package delivery business continued to grow, and 2015 was the second time controllable income topped more than $1 billion, following 2014’s $1.4 billion.  The USPS finished the fiscal year with $1.2 billion in controllable income, a number that excludes, among other costs, $5.7 government-mandated “pre-payment” for retirement benefits.  Source:  Christian Science Monitor
Postal Service Debuts Digital Mail in New York Residents and businesses in several New York ZIP Codes are being introduced to the Informed Delivery app which—every day at 8 a.m.—emails them pictures of the fronts of envelope mail being delivered to them later in the day.  The pilot program works through the My USPS website and follows on a small-market Virginia test of what the Postal Service initially called Real Mail Notification.  The average response rate to direct mail appeals received by service subscribers was 5.9% compared to 0.5% for residents without the app, and nine out of 10 users said they’d continue to use the free service if available.  Source:  DM News
Why have QR codes taken off in China?QR codes have largely failed in western markets, but in China, the mass adoption of social communications app WeChat – with its embedded QR reader software – means no brand can market without them.  China’s WeChat has more than 600 million monthly active users. Every time the app is downloaded onto a mobile phone, so too is a QR code reader.  This creates a shortcut for a user to link directly from an offline source to an online WeChat account, without the customer having to find and download a QR reader.  It also eliminates the search process of looking for the brand in a Google or Baidu search.  Source:  ClickZ