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Insights on Transactional Communications: a Market Overview

June 8, 2015

Understand the Market Dynamics at Play in Transactional Communications

By Matt Swain, Director at InfoTrends

Matt Swain To share our research with OutputLinks’ readers, InfoTrends is publishing a 4-part series with insights from our 2014 survey of the transactional communications market.

If you prefer not to wait over the coming weeks, we can provide an advance copy of the entire 4-part series as a free eBook.

Why does the transactional communications market need a 4-part series? You might be shocked to learn exactly how many bills Americans receive and pay. Last year, it was 15 billion household bills. That’s a staggering volume of communications, which companies have to send and consumers have to receive, and it doesn’t even include the 9 billion statements and countless letters, legal notices, and other transactional documents sent out each year.

U.S. households received more than 24 billion bills and statements last year.

A Reliable and Profitable Market
For stakeholders in the transactional communications industry, including billers, vendors and outsourcing service providers, this can be a reliable and profitable market. However, with the transition from print to electronic channels and the ever-changing landscape of consumer technology, the market is rapidly evolving. Industry stakeholders have to capitalize on opportunities to build effective communication strategies, maximize revenue, reduce operating costs and improve customer relationships.

3 Areas of Opportunity
InfoTrends As a leading market research and consulting firm, InfoTrends comprehensively tracks and analyzes the market from year to year through our Transactional Communications & Payments advisory service. Our annual research culminates next month with the 2015 Annual State of the Transactional Communications Market Survey. This will be brand new research based on original data from 250 businesses (senders) and 2,000 consumers (recipients) in the United States.

This 4-part series will focus on three main areas of opportunity in the transactional market:

  • Print & mail
  • Electronic delivery
  • Provider versus consolidator access

Here is preview of each installment in the series:

Print & Mail (Covered in Part 2 of this series)
Despite providers’ push for paperless delivery, more than 75 percent of all bills and statements last year were delivered to U.S. households by postal mail.

Why are consumers still so attached to paper? They want the hardcopy for their records and as a reminder to pay their bills, and they view it as a security precaution (which also ties back to the desire for the hardcopy).

Figure 1: Why Consumers Still Receive Paper Bills/Statements

 InfoTrends Consumers

This tie to paper is often lost on bill and statement providers, who set high paperless adoption targets but fail to reach them. This has been a consistent story in the transactional communications market. Paper will not be easy to fully displace and remains a high-value communication opportunity for senders.

Electronic Delivery (Covered in Part 3 of this series)
If transactional communications are not delivered by physical mail, then customers access them through a web portal (using a username and password), by email, or via a mobile app. Electronic delivery of transactional communications is growing, making it crucial to provider strategies. Here are some sample data points on each channel:

Figure 2: Survey of U.S. Businesses and Consumers on the 3 Main eDelivery Channels

Investment Survey Large

eDelivery continues to gain traction and it will be critical for businesses to have a calculated strategy for supporting end customers’ desire for each of these channels.

Provider vs. Consolidator Access (Covered in Part 4 of this series)
How will customers want to access transactional mail, directly through each biller or through a third-party consolidator (e.g., bank or non-bank) that provides access to multiple billers?

While bill and statement providers often prefer to have customers interact directly with them, some customers prefer to use consolidators. Last year, 25 percent of consumers who were currently using a consolidation service said they had more frequent interaction with their providers as a result.

With 77 percent of bill and statement providers citing that they have not partnered with a consolidator, are they missing an opportunity to expand access options for their customers? We will look at this more closely in the last part of this series.

InfoTrends’ Opinion
As the transactional communications market continues to evolve, it is critical for billers, vendors, and outsourcing service providers to understand the market dynamics at play and make strategic decisions based on hard data.

Matt Swain - Signature

Read Part 2 or download the free eBook version! Be sure to leave a comment below and let us know how you see the market shaping up.

We hope you enjoyed Part 1 of this 4-part series and invite you to learn more about our upcoming 2015 Annual State of the Transactional Communications Market Survey.


Matt Swain is a Director for InfoTrends, the leading worldwide market research and strategic consulting firm for the digital imaging and document solutions industry. He is responsible for driving global research and consulting initiatives in the transactional communications and document outsourcing markets. As a result of his extensive research and ongoing coverage, Mr. Swain brings valuable market perspective to his clients. He is also a frequent speaker at industry events, including presentations in Asia, Eastern and Western Europe, and throughout North America


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