Millennials Like Getting Snail Mail Because It Makes Them Feel Special

A new reports from the USPS shows what millennials do and don't like about the service.

by Josie Rhodes Cook
Unsplash / Annie Spratt

The United States Postal Service released a report on July 30 about millennials’ “relationship” with the mail. It was an attempt to understand how millennials use the post office, and while some of the findings seem a little bit silly (apparently millennials like coupons?), there’s also some really interesting information in the report about how the 18 to 34 set uses the USPS.

The USPS and Office of Inspector General had three objectives behind conducting this report: to understand millennials’ perceptions of USPS as a brand, to better understand their usage of postal products compared to previous generations, and to “explore” which products and services the USPS could offer if it wants to cater more to millennials’ needs.

Inc. called the report “overly optimistic,” and indeed, it does sort of appear that the USPS is spinning the idea that it can “ensure relevance with the next generation of consumers” with this report.

But in spite of the possibly misplaced belief that the USPS can ensure anything about millennials using the services the postal service can offer, the report did note a few interesting things about how the generation currently uses the USPS; in short, many still turn to the USPS, they just do so in different ways than older customers do.

How Do Millennials View The Post Office?

The report, which used the Summer 2017 Postal Omnibus Survey to analyze 3,391 US residents including 1,130 millennials, finds that millennials, Gen X, and Boomers all reported similar levels of satisfaction with the Postal Service, and 75 percent of millennials said that it’s still nice to receive personal mail and that it makes them feel “special.”

However, many millennials noted “the process can be laborious,” so convenience seems to be key here.

Millennials reportedly rated USPS and other shippers comparably when it comes to trust and value for money for package sending. Plus, the report found that millennials think the postal service has more conveniently located retail locations when compared to other shipping options.

But only 56 percent of millennials said they go to a physical post office to send a package, and knowing that’s an option and actually utilizing it are obviously different things. Offering package pickups is probably the answer here.

So many mailboxes...

Unsplash / Daria Nepriakhina

What Do Millennials Want From The Post Office?

Apparently, 62 percent of millennials in the report said they had visited a store in the previous month because of information they received in the mail, which means millennials may be surprisingly receptive to marketing mail. Perhaps less surprising than the revelation that junk mail actually works is the finding that 69 percent of millennials “somewhat or very much like” getting mailed coupons for local restaurants — everyone likes a deal.

The report noted that millennials are looking for convenience and immediacy in USPS services. Millennials say they wanted more self-service options, including locations besides post offices where they’d like there to be USPS kiosks, including grocery stores and school campuses, or near public transportation.

The report noted that many of these kiosks already exist, but millennials just don’t seem to be aware of them. Apparently, it’s time for a postal service awareness campaign.

Your friendly neighborhood USPS truck.

Flickr / David Guo's Master

A loyalty rewards program was also suggested, with the implication that one might inspire millennials to send more mail or choose USPS for shipping more often.

Millennials and Gen X were more likely than Boomers to say they had visited, and to have an account on, again proving that millennials will use USPS services, they just use them differently, and the postal service may need to adapt accordingly.

With the rise of online communication, the USPS may just never have the same relevance with millennials that it did with past generations. But that doesn’t mean millennials don’t use the post office at all, and a personalized letter is still really nice for anyone to get in place of something like a student loan bill, which millennials probably get a lot of.

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