Americans Hate Getting Bills in the Mail

Americans like to get mail from people they know, as well as holiday or greeting cards. On the other hand, they hate getting bills in the mail.

According to Gallup researchers:

Of course, people can receive a wide variety of items in the mail each day, and Americans have a much more positive reaction to receiving some than others. In particular, over 90% of Americans say they have a very positive or positive reaction when receiving personal letters and cards. A sizeable majority of Americans also feel positively about receiving packages (83%) and, to a lesser degree, magazines (60%). Perhaps not surprisingly, sentiments are mostly negative when it comes to receiving letters from businesses, bills and especially advertising fliers.

In specific, 94% of Americans have a positive or very positive reaction to getting “a letter from someone you know.” The negative or very negative reaction to this is a minuscule 2%. In terms of getting a “birthday, holiday or greeting card,” the positive/very positive figure is 93% and the negative/very negative is only 3%. Some tiny number of people may not have any good friends, or maybe they don’t believe in holidays or hate their birthdays

Bills and advertising cards and fliers barely have any fans at all. The data have to be a blow to the direct marking industry, which already has substantial problems as it attempts to get consumers to open, or even look at, advertising material. Bills, on the other hand, have to be opened in most cases, unless consumers want to have low credit ratings. The positive/very positive rating for bills is 29%, while the negative/very negative rating is 44%. This is relatively good compared to advertising material. For these, the positive/very positive rate is 22%, and the negative/very negative number is 51%.

The mail is not used much anymore to deliver any of the things on the Gallup list (although the U.S. Postal Service should dispute that). However, for electronically delivered mail, the attitudes found by Gallup are probably the same. Who wants to get a bill at all?

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Methodology: Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted March 27 and 28, 2015, on the Gallup U.S. Daily survey, with a random sample of 1,010 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. For results based on the total sample of national adults, the margin of sampling error is ±4 percentage points at the 95% confidence level. All reported margins of sampling error include computed design effects for weighting.

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