Junk mailshots hit record levels

THE AMOUNT of junk mail pouring through letter boxes has reached record levels, according to new research. Most people receive about three pieces of direct mail a week - up from two items in 1995 - and it accounts for just under half of all items received by post.

But nearly one in four items received goes straight in the bin, and the amount which is read fell from 63 per cent two years ago to 59 per cent last year.

Men receive more junk mail than women, and those on higher incomes are targeted more than lower-income families. About 17 per cent of people receive more than six mailshots a week. Insurance companies are responsible for the most direct mail, followed by credit card firms, banks, mail order companies, charities and book clubs.

However, Jo Howard-Brown of the Direct Marketing Information Service, which carried out the research, said it was encouraging that despite the rise in the amount of mail being sent out, the amount binned had not changed. She said: "Direct Mail is increasingly losing its `junk mail' image and is being accepted as a credible part of the overall marketing mix."