Key Notes – Volume 04 Number 49 & 50

New System Might Spike Postal Rates – In a congressionally-mandated review a decade after postal reform, the PRC said the ratemaking system had been “largely successful in achieving goals related to the ratemaking system but has not increased pricing efficiency,” “maintained the financial health” of the United States Postal Service (USPS) or maintained high quality service standards.  The PRC issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to address the shortcomings identified in the Dec. 1 report.  The Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act (PAEA), established in 2006, required the PRC to review the system for regulating rates and cases for postal products.  There will be a 90-day comment period, which ends March 1, and 30 days for reply comments, no later than March 30.  That puts a potential vote before the PRC by sometime in the spring.  The proposed rulemaking changes would keep the current Consumer Price Index (CPI) cap on rate increases but add four more potential avenues for a hike:

  • A 2-percent surcharge on all mail for next five years;
  • An additional 1 percent if USPS meets certain goals related to efficiency and service;
  • Another 2 percent for products that are considered “underwater,” or not covering their costs, which tend to be periodicals and Marketing Mail (formerly Standard Mail) flats, such as catalogs and calendars. Source:  The Nonprofit Times

Print on Paper Is Safer than Digital Media – The recent Toluna survey commissioned by Two Sides revealed that 78% of U.S. respondents keep hard copies of important documents at home as they believe this is the safest and most secure way of storing their information.  A similar number (76%) are increasingly concerned that personal information held electronically is at risk of being hacked, stolen, lost or damaged.  Trusting the news found on digital media has also become increasingly difficult as hoaxes and misleading information pop up on the internet and then are shared on social media.  Survey results show that 74% of respondents thought fake news was a worrying trend.  In total, 56% said they trust the news stories they read in printed newspapers versus 35% trusting the news stories they read on social media.  64% said they would be very concerned if printed newspapers were to disappear.  These results clearly show that having a printed copy, whether it be a newspaper, an invoice or a health or financial record is generally perceived to be a more secure way of receiving information than its digital counterpart.  Click here for the full survey report.  Source:  PI World

The Key to Gen Z Marketing – Now that most have millennials figured out, here come the next batch of consumers.  Stamped Post-Millennials, iGen, the Wii Generation, the Homeland Generation, and the Plurals, Gen Z is coming in hot and in spite of their youth, they’ve got money to spend.  Marketers who focus only on demographics and assumptions are going to blow it with these consumers.  Their views, philosophies and expectations are different than any other generation and connecting to these kids requires getting to know them and then being real for them.  Gen Z don’t see things as digital or real life. To these kids and young adults, it’s all just part of a total experience.  Growing up in the midst of dichotomies, this generation doesn’t draw the same distinctions, boundaries, or categories as previous generations.  Source:  Better Ways

2018 Commercial Printing Industry Outlook – Idealliance expects commercial printing industry sales (all sources) to grow 1.5% to 3.0% in 2018, after growing approximately 1.0% in 2017. Where in that range the industry finishes will depend largely on the strength of the American economy which, in turn, will depend on the size and efficiency of the stimulus Washington delivers.  Source:  Printing Impressions

U.S. Postal Service Could Be Next Bailout Recipient – Today, the USPS has a $79.1 billion unfunded liability for retirement benefits, which includes retiree pensions and health care benefits.  Nearly a decade and a half ago, the USPS made a proposal that Congress adopted to shore up the funding of this benefit.  However, the USPS made few of the required payments and are now saddled with an even larger liability.  Without renewed steps to reform the operations of the USPS in the near future, a taxpayer-funded bailout will almost inevitably be on the horizon.  Source:  Real Clear Markets