Survey Discovers People Still Love To Receive Letters!

Email and other electronic forms of communication are a huge part of our daily lives at work and at home. But is there still place for the post?
A recent survey by Avery of 451 UK adults took a look at how people feel when it comes to letters verses emails.

Nothing beats a birthday card!


Birthdays, as you might expect, are the number one occasion where postal communications are preferred. The research found that a birthday card was the overwhelming winner when it came to how we like to receive birthday greetings. This was closely followed by a phone call and then a letter. Text messages would be preferred over an email with a Facebook message or tweet being the least popular option. So, think before you send that Facebook birthday greeting – could you have sent a card or picked up the phone? As one survey respondent put it: “I much prefer a handwritten sentiment as it shows the sender has taken time to select and write the card or letter, buy a stamp and walk to a post box! The extra effort makes me feel cherished and the feeling continues whenever you see the card on the mantle piece or letter pinned on the fridge.”

Post popular for formal communications

It seems the post is popular when it comes to receiving formal communications too. 7 out of 10 people prefer to receive legal or banking information in the form of a letter. However, over a quarter of us would be happy to receive this information via email with less than 1% saying via a phone call and even less for a text message. These findings could be significant for businesses.

Avery’s marketing director Fiona Mills explains, “With the average office worker receiving around 80 emails a day, it’s easy for important business communications to get missed or not read properly on email, especially if they come through on a day when you can’t get to your inbox. We’ve all experienced an overflowing inbox – the desire to clear all unread mail can sometimes mean we don’t give important messages our full attention. So when you’re sending an essential business communication, it could be advisable to pop it in the post to help ensure it gets the attention it deserves.”

Sales success

When it comes to sales information people still prefer to receive a traditional letter or brochure, with almost half of people stating this, closely followed by email which was preferred by 42.8% of respondents.  Less than 7% of us like to receive this kind of information face to face. The least popular forms of communication for sales messages are phone calls and text. However over a third of people want to turn off all forms of sales communication with 38.8% saying they prefer not to receive any form of sales information. Avery’s Fiona Mills added:  “It seems that striking a balance between email and hard copy is important when it comes to sales messaging. Think carefully about which method is most appropriate. Whichever you choose sending fewer but more meaningful communications is key to getting people’s attention.”

Attention to detail

Once you’ve decided to pop something in the post, how can you make sure the recipient opens your correspondence straightaway? Avery also looked into what makes people want to open a letter, it’s seems envelope choice could be the key. According to the survey a bright coloured envelope is most likely to be opened first with over a third of respondents choosing this, a white envelope was the next most popular to open followed by a scented envelope. In last place were brown envelopes and dark envelopes.

Letters evoke emotional responses

When asked to describe how receiving something in the post makes you feel, the most popular word was ‘happy’ followed by ‘special’, ‘loved’ and ‘surprised’. Avery’s Fiona Mills urges businesses to consider what these findings might mean for their own communications: “It’s clear from both the statistics and the many comments we received in our survey that postal communications are received differently to emails. They tend to make the recipient feel more special and valued, and this is something that’s worth considering in business. If you’re sending something you want someone to give their full attention to, putting it in the post has the potential to make a big difference. This is particularly relevant for sales and marketing messages, as well as news and important announcements. Imagine if as businesses we spent some time trying to recreate the feelings associated with receiving a greetings card or letter in the post, how much more positively or differently would the message be received? ”

Avery has come up with some simple ways of helping you make your message stand out and will be at the London Stationery Show at the end of this month with a fantastic variety of labels for letters available, including 100% recycled labels, transparent clear labels for coloured envelopes and QuickDry labels that are guaranteed to be smudge-free.

For more information visit​ and come and meet the team on stand G117. 

Posted on 9th April 2015 by Vanessa Fortnam