The USPS has announced plans for a January 2024 postage increase. Luckily, the overall impact for Marketers is much smaller than in recent USPS price increases, and U.S. postage rates will remain among the most affordable worldwide.
In this article, we’ll look at the proposed new rates and detail numerous opportunities, readily available to direct mailers throughout 2024 and into 2025, to mitigate the effects of rising costs.
Proposed USPS price increase – January 2024
The USPS proposed the price increase on October 6, primarily to offset the continued effects of inflation. Rates will increase an average of 2%. However, the applied percentage will vary throughout mail classifications. Here are the rates most relevant to direct mailers.
|Classification||Average Increase %|
|Automation Letters|| |
|Non-profit Letters|| |
|Carrier Route Letters (NDC/SCF levels)|| |
|Automation Flat Pieces|| |
|Non-profit Flats|| |
|Automation Letters|| |
|First-Class Postcards|| |
Postal Regulatory Commission approval is pending and expected before the end of November.
Act now to bolster ROI
The USPS recognizes the important role direct mail plays in its long-term health and have a number of offerings that deliver tangible, ROI-boosting benefits. But our 2023 survey1 revealed not all mailers are aware of these opportunities, or understand how to take advantage of them.
The USPS rewards mailers who make the Postal Service’s job easier by preparing their mail to seamlessly move through the delivery chain. Mail that meets certain criteria earns discounts.
Mailers can earn separate postage reductions for:
- Address accuracy
- Presorting and filling mail trays by destination zip codes
These savings are available year round.
Additionally, keeping formats within USPS automation specs avoids excess charges.
Only 73% of direct mailers1 report utilizing automation discounts of one type or another. A main reason mailers report not taking advantage of this is that their packages exceed the physical parameters for Automated Letter or Automated Flat mail. Changing a catalog to a booklet is one example that can capture savings. Further, moving mail pieces from the Automated Flat to the Automated Letter category delivers per-piece postage reductions ranging from 48% to 61%, depending on mail volume. Consult with a direct mail expert who can review your goals and suggest alternatives that would capture at least some of these missed savings opportunities.
55% of marketing mailers leverage commingling1. This tactic takes mail pieces lacking sufficient piece counts to fill a given zip code pre-sort mail tray and groups them with other marketing mail headed to the same zones, thereby earning lower rates. This adoption number falls strikingly short, considering that almost all mailers can benefit, and given the potential savings. After factoring in the cost to set up and execute a commingle program, mailers still net savings up to $0.05 per piece, which for large mailers, turns into hundreds of thousands of dollars.
2024 postage promotions
The USPS runs a series of annual promotions designed to increase engagement and response rates for marketers by leveraging high value mail pieces. Each promotion focuses on an aspect of how mail complements and enhances modern marketing trends. The 2024 promotions cover:
- Tactile, Sensory, and Interactive
- Personalized Color Transpromo
- Emerging and Advanced Technology (New for 2024: mailers can customize the 6-month widow of opportunity to use the Emerging and Advanced Technology promotion!)
- Reply Mail IMbA
- Informed Delivery
Each promotion runs for a set period of time (from 3-6 months), and while overlapping, marketers may apply only one promotion at a time per mail piece. Most mailers should be able to take advantage of more than one promotion throughout the year.
Yet more than 1/3 of marketing mailers fail to leverage any of these significant savings opportunities. We recommend partnering with a mail provider that:
- Possesses the resources to help you understand the ins and outs of each program
- Helps with the application and approval process
- Generates ideas on how to take advantage of each promotion
- Solves for every part of the direct mail life cycle you need assistance with in order to improve your campaign performance
2024 mail growth incentives
The USPS just approved two new 2024 incentives designed to increase First-Class Mail and Marketing Mail volumes.
The USPS will reward eligible mailers with a 30% postage credit for incremental mail growth. The credits can be used on future mailings beginning in July 2024 through December 2025.
See eligibility and other details here.
Free Bonus: For an overview of the 2024 USPS Promotions, their schedules, and suggestions on how to take advantage of each, access our handy resource.