New United States Postal Service rates go into effect Sunday, January 21, 2024. Thankfully for marketers, this latest adjustment is generally much less significant than other recent price hikes.
In this article, we’ll look at the new rates and detail numerous opportunities, readily available to direct mailers throughout 2024 and into 2025, to mitigate the effects of rising costs.
January 21, 2024 Price Adjustments
According to the USPS, the impetus for this latest price increase is primarily to offset the continued effects of inflation. Rates will increase an average of 2%, with variations across individual mail classifications. This table contains the rates most relevant to direct mailers.
|Average Increase %
|Carrier Route Letters (NDC/SCF levels)
|Automation Flat Pieces
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 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.
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 manifests 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 most mailers should be able to take advantage of more than one promotion throughout the year.
New in 2024, the USPS is asking mailers to use their USPS Business Customer Gateway account to register for the Promotions. Failure to use this method of registration will result in significant delays in having your submissions reviewed and approved.
- Log on to your USPS Business Customer Gateway account. (https://gateway.usps.com)
- Under “Mailing Services” navigate to the “Mailing Promotions Portal” and select “Go to Service”.
- Click on the “Welcome tab” scroll down to the 2024 promotion you are looking for.
- Complete the 4 enrollment Steps. Click each sections “Incomplete” link, fill out the information, and select “I agree”. Note: the 4th step is not active until the first 3 have been completed.
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.