Direct Mail, Catalogs To Decline

Posted on 11/11/2008 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)

Traditionally, direct mail brochures and catalogs have been among the biggest users of stock and assignment photography. Look for that market to continue to decline due to postage costs and general ineffectiveness of this type of marketing.

During the second quarter of 2008, U.S. households received 1,060 million credit card offers—down 17% from the 1,275 million offers in the same quarter a year earlier. According to market-research firm Synovate Mail Monitor, credit card companies sent over 5.2 billion unsolicited offers in 2007, and this number is expected to drop by 1 billion in 2008.

In the third quarter of 2008, home equity credit mailings dropped 66% to 72.9 million, compared with 215 million for the same period of 2007. Citibank reduced its consumer banking solicitations by 98%, compared to the previous quarter; Charles Schwab cut back such activities by 95%. Bank of America and HSBC sent out 49% and 44% fewer credit card offers, respectively.

Prior to October 2008, the U.S. Postal Service projected it would carry 9 billion fewer pieces of all types of mail in fiscal 2008 than in 2007.

The American Catalog Mailers Association estimates that catalog-mailing costs are $5.6 billion per year. The Washington Post quotes the association’s executive director Hamilton Davison: “The industry is feverishly trying to figure out a way to find viable [customers] in other ways, and when it does, there’ll be an enormous migration away from mail.”

Earlier this year, a survey by the Direct Marketing Association showed a 55% drop in the number of companies that said a paper catalog was their primary market channel for business. Fewer catalogs means less need for still photography.

Copyright © 2008 Jim Pickerell. The above article may not be copied, reproduced, excerpted or distributed in any manner without written permission from the author. All requests should be submitted to Selling Stock at 10319 Westlake Drive, Suite 162, Bethesda, MD 20817, phone 301-251-0720, e-mail: wvz@fpcubgbf.pbz

Jim Pickerell is founder of, an online newsletter that publishes daily. He is also available for personal telephone consultations on pricing and other matters related to stock photography. He occasionally acts as an expert witness on matters related to stock photography. For his current curriculum vitae go to:  


Be the first to comment below.

Post Comment

You must log in to post comments.

Stay Connected

Sign up to receive our FREE weekly email listing new stories posted.

Follow Us

Free Stuff

Recent Stories – Summer 2016
If you’ve been shooting all summer and haven’t had time to keep up with your reading here are links to a few stories you might want to check out as we move into the fall. To begin, be sure to complet...
Read More
Corbis Acquisition by VCG/Getty Images
This story provides links to several stories that relate to the Visual China Group (VCG) acquisition of Corbis and the role Getty Images has been assigned in the transfer of Corbis assets to the Gett...
Read More
Finding The Right Image
Many think search will be solved with better Metadata. While metadata is important, there are limits to how far it can take the customer toward finding the right piece of content. This story provides...
Read More
Where Is The Stock Photo Industry Headed?
For new readers, or those who may have missed some of what I have written over the last few months, the following are a list of stories worth looking at to get a sense of where the industry is headed.
Read More
Photography As A Career
It’s that time of year when high school seniors are waiting for college acceptance letters and thinking about future careers. If you know someone who is thinking about photography as a career you mig...
Read More
2014 Stories You May Have Missed
For many the end of the year is a time to review past experiences and consider whether it makes sense to chart a new course in the year ahead. Stock photography has changed dramatically for professio...
Read More
More Stories In 2014 You May Have Missed
Every so often I put together a list of the most important stories we’ve published in the recent past. If you are engaged in the business of stock photography the links below are to stories that we’v...
Read More
Getty: A Three Month Review
In all the excitement about 35 million FREE images it is worth looking back at some of things that have been happening at Getty Images in the last three months. After watching revenue decline for the...
Read More
State Of Stock Photo Industry: 2013
If you’re looking for an overview of the state of the stock photo industry as of October 2013 the stories listed below are a good place to start. Regular readers of Selling-Stock will have seen all t...
Read More
Education Market Shifts To Digital
If supplying pictures for educational use is a significant part of your business plan you need to be aware of how the market is trending toward digital delivery and how that is likely to affect the p...
Read More

More from Free Stuff