Envelopes. The universal method of getting your correspondence from point A to point B.
Many of you still have a shoebox in your closet with old letters from loved ones or important letters of accomplishments.
Am I right?
Before telephones and the internet, it was the only way to get your message across miles and miles of land or water.
Yet, in this ever growing technology age do we still need envelopes?
According to the Envelope Manufacturing Association (EMA) Well over 185 billion envelopes are produced each year in the United States. More than 85 percent of these enter the mail stream to be delivered by the Postal
That’s a lot of mail.
In 2005 The Economist published an article called “Pulling The Envelope” where they claim more than 80% of letter mail is from businesses, not individuals. More than half of that is monthly billing statements which is on it’s own decline due to statements being emailed or can be accessed via an app.
That was in 2005.
In the 1990’s there were roughly 6 million involved in the envelope manufacturing and print industry. There are 1 million fewer today.
So what does this all mean? Are envelopes truly dying or are they simply adapting to the new art of mail?
Envelopes USA has over 30 years of experience in the envelope printing industry. What we have seen is those who adapt to the changing landscape do rather well whereas those who hang on to the old way, die out.
In fact small family owned print shops are fading away as they either close up shop or sell their business to a larger corporation.
One of the biggest changes in the envelope industry is digital printing.
Instead of the standard offset presses there has been a big increase in the use of a digital envelope printer that looks much like a copier.
This helps “cut out” the need for chemically processed plates. You just need a computer.
In the short run this helps a company save on labor and print cost.
However in the long run the standard offset analog press still provides the best value for long runs of 20,000 or more.
The Rise Of Direct Mail
Direct mail has seen a increase in volume in the last decade. Marketers realized the impact of sending unique pieces of letter mail that overall, has a better ROI than other advertising methods,
This is partly due to the innovative ways the envelope industry has found in developing envelope sizes that keep postage rates low.
Think of an envelope as a piece of real estate. How you utilize that space will determine how the receiver decides to open it.
Direct mail companies are taking marketing to new heights and as a result, keep the demand for envelopes aive.
The Case For Envelopes
In the 90’s and into the 21 Century there was a non stop inflow of junk mail that most would just skim through quickly for anything important and toss the rest.
Junk mail obviously isn’t going anywhere (However most are in the form of postcards nowadays) and we certainly are appreciative of this industry.
Fast forward to today and it seems the same thing is happening with email.
We are bombarded with hundreds of emails that we barely want to check our inboxes.
We believe to a small degree this has helped the good old fashioned snail mail method.
The Personal Touch
Recently I spoke to a real estate agent who I noticed has not missed one month of sending me a newsletter inside of an envelope with their information in the top left corner.
It’s been almost 4 years.
I asked him why he is choosing this avenue instead of email and if he thought he could save money that way? (Yes I sent him an email)
He responded, “Yes it would be cheaper by email but we have found that people find it more genuine to receive a n actual correspondence from us and also we saw a much higher return with clients choosing us to sell their homes as opposed to our email methods.”
This goes across the board with lawyers, doctors, HVAC, roofers, insurance companies, health stores and just about any industry that relies on repeat customers.
People want to be treated like humans and a message sealed in an printed envelope accomplishes that need.
The Environmental Challenge
There was a time when the overall paper industry was decimating the timber rates.
Thankfully environmental groups took action to pay attention to what was happening to our forests around the world.
As a result we now have more square miles of forest than we did 50 years ago.
Thanks in large part in making recycling accessible and easy for companies. In our warehouse we recycle all of our paper waste and our envelopes are made with 30% recycled paper.
More and more states are now processing all garbage to see what can be recycled so even paper that people throw away more often than not.
The challenge has been the changing that image where if one is using paper they are harming the environment.
I can’t tell you how many shocked expressions I get when I mention the fact that we have more forest land today.
We need to change that perception.
Many monthly billing companies are pushing for paperless statements to help you “go green”.
This doesn’t hurt their customer base because we begrudgingly have to pay those bills.
Keep in mind that those statements come in a printed envelope and usually has a return envelope inside.
Help support our printing industry and never worry that we are harming the environment.
While we have seen a decrease in envelopes being printed and a shrinking of print shops in general we feel the industry is still in an adjustment period.
If they adapt to the new technology options and stay creative to meet the needs of an emerging direct mail strategy, we will see envelopes remain in demand far into future.
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