Of course, this is an aggregate view of the email marketing world. Looking at specific market sectors can tell a different story. The retail area, for instance, shows an opposite trend. We've noticed a steady decrease in the number of active lists driving traffic to retail sites, week after week since the holiday peak.
Other sectors, that are not tied to the holiday season, such as gambling, show some interesting trends as well. There was, of course, a dramatic decrease in the number of email lists marketing on behalf of the gambling industry after the bills banning online gambling were passed by Congress, and this decrease continued its downward trend until October of 2006, at which time it leveled off. Email lists for the gambling industry have now been rebounding a bit, their number slightly increasing after Jan.1.
The travel industry, which showed a very rapid drop in the number of lists actively marketing travel sites, has shot up again and is now higher than pre-holiday numbers. Apparel sectors, on the other hand, showed no dip at all after the holidays, and have remained fairly consistent over the year, with only a gradual rise over the holiday season.
Direct marketing favorites, such as the payday loan sector, had a huge spike after the Christmas holidays last year, as people were no doubt paying off their Christmas bills. But by the second quarter of 2006, this sector really bottomed out, almost petering out completely by October. There was a steady rise leading into the holidays, but we have not seen the spike we saw last year after the holidays. Instead, there's a steady decrease in the number of lists marketing for this sector.
Debt elimination services, on the other hand, have increased steadily over the past year, as has the diet industry. From October on, email lists driving traffic to dieting-related sites jumped up dramatically, and after a brief lull directly after the holiday season, regained their pre-holiday heights.
Another area that has not shown any particular seasonality, surprisingly, is the food sector. Emails lists directing traffic to food-related sites, such as supermarkets, food products, and recipe sites, have remained fairly consistent, with some mild dips in August, but no particular spikes around the holiday. In general this sector is slowly trending upward but does not seem to be affected by seasonal trends.
And finally, in the tech world, emails driving traffic to sites like HP, IBM and Dell, have just shown a steady increase: a short, fast drop after the Christmas season, but regaining pre-holiday levels quickly, and in general showing an upward trend throughout the year.