A 'Class' Struggle of the Holiday Sort

Associated Press

Just when you thought your overstuffed mailbox was on the verge of bursting, along come predictions of more junk mail this holiday season. In fact, some say it may even hit a record.

With the economy on the rebound, consumers strapped for shopping time and third-class mail rates expected to rise in January, 'tis the season for direct-mail advertisers to do their thing, according to members of the Direct Marketing Assn., based in New York.

And this year, unlike last, the Postal Service is promising that it will deliver catalogues and bills on time.

The number of Americans who shop at home, either by mail or by telephone, increased 77% between 1983 and 1992, the trade group said.

Catalogues accounted for $53.4 billion in sales in 1993, and their sales have increased an average of nearly 7% a year since 1987.

The marketing association predicts that revenue from catalogue sales should grow by 6.8% annually, on average, to $69.5 billion by 1997.

The Postal Service delivered 65.8 billion pieces of mail advertising in 1993, up from 62.6 billion the year before and 40.7 billion in 1983, trade group figures show. A large percentage of that is mailed in the fall and early winter for holiday shoppers.

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