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USPS Study Finds Periodical Recipients are Smart and Wealthy

Periodicals On Wall Rack

The U.S. Postal Service’s 399-page study “The Household Diary Study – Mail Use & Attitudes in FY 2015” provides some interesting insights to subscribers of printed consumer magazines. They tend to be well-educated, empty nesters, wealthy and reside in a single-family house.

For a quick overview of the USPS publication here are some interesting factoids:

Periodicals by Income and Education

  • Households with incomes above $100,000 receive three times as many periodicals as households earning less than $35,000.
  • Households whose heads are under 34 years old and with incomes less than $35,000, the average is only 0.2 pieces per week.
  • Households with income above $100,000 and whose heads are over 55 receive the most periodicals, with 1.7 pieces per week.”

Periodicals By Income And Education

Periodicals by Income and Age

  • Households that receive the most periodicals have more than one adult and no children
  • Headed by someone with a postgraduate degree
  • Reside in a single-family house.

Periodicals By Income And Age

Number of Periodicals Received per Week by Households by Income Group

  • Three-fourths of the periodicals mailed to U.S. households last year were magazines
  • Home delivery exceeds newsstand and business subscriptions
  • Good News: Affluent young adults have not abandoned printed magazines (under 34 with household incomes over $100,000 receive 0.8 periodicals per week, more than the average household and several times more than their less affluent young-adult counterparts.)
  • Bad News: Typical households received 40% fewer magazines per week than in 1987. The total number of magazine subscriptions may have decreased slowly, but the decline is more dramatic when viewed on a market-share or per-household basis.

Periodicals Per Week By Household By Income Group

Periodicals Mail Volume per Person

  • Weekly magazines dropped from 0.25 in 1987 to 0.11 per week.
  • Monthlies declined from 0.61 to 0.39.
  • Other magazines dropped from 0.10 to 0.09

Periodicals Mail Volume Per Person


The USPS study indicates the periodical class to be more efficient for the U.S. Postal Service, because magazines tend to be more automation friendly and packaged better. This coincides with recent studies on catalog fulfillment and the promising ROI on the new “B-2-Me” marketing methods being used in the industry.