The Consumer ID: Survey Probes Their Email Attitudes

Almost all consumers check their personal inboxes every day. But they don’t check them often, and they look at their work email accounts even less, according to a survey from the DMA conducted by Dotmailer.

A deeper dive into the research released this month shows that consumers want discounts and short email copy. And almost half have to “recognize the brand before even opening the email,” the study states.

Although the study only covers UK consumers, anecdotal evidence suggests that U.S. shoppers are not that different.

The DMA and Dotmailer surveyed 1063 individuals through their YouSay customer panel.

It all starts with their email accounts. The average number of email addresses they have is 2.6 — unchanged from 2016. Of those polled, 27 have one, up from 23% last year.

Those with two have dropped a point from 38% last year. Only 4% this have ten or more.

In addition, 26% have one address for both personal and marketing emails from brands they trust — down from 36% last year. And 225% have different email addresses for personal and marketing, down two percentage points from 2016.



Perhaps this is a British thing. But they don’t check their email as often as you might think.

Among the respondents, 46% check their email personal addresses two or three times per day, and 10% check only their work addresses. But 50% don’t check their work email even once.

Does this imply that workers in the UK are not engaged with their jobs? Not at all.

The study also puts a damper on the email-mobile connection.

Many consumers ignore or delete emails on their mobile phones. This shows that smartphone inboxes are “triaged not read,” the study states.

Roughly half of all email users delete their emails whether they open or not.

What do consumers want? They open emails for the following reasons:

  • Discounts — 63%
  • Loyalty program rewards — 51%
  • Free samples/gifts — 48%
  • Free delivery — 46%
  • Competitions — 33%
  • Advance notice of new products — 31%
  • Product reviews — 22%
  • VIP access — 14%
  • Privacy policy — 11%
  • Access to other brand/shop/site benefits
  • User guides-10%
  • None of these—10%

Peer-generated social media-related videos/articles/magazines/tweets/photos/blogs etc. – 3%

Most of these preferences are up from last year. Overall, they show that consumers prefer “tactical content”—that is, emails that offer added value.

How many emails do they open? Of those in this sample, 57% open over half. But there is a disconnect with studies showing that only around one in seven marketing emails are opened.

“This suggests that consumers receiving large amounts of non-marketing emails that they are opening, they are overestimating the amount of emails they open, or they do not realize that a lot of emails they receive constitute marketing,” the study says.

What drives them to open emails? For 49%, it’s that they recognize the brand. Another 26% report that it’s the subject line, 13% the brand itself, and 10% none of these. Two percent cite “others.”

All this shows that “almost half of consumers have to recognize the brand before even opening the email,” the study continues.

As for what attracts them most to email, 83% cite order confirmations, 82% delivery updates and 78% e-receipts.

Don’t think that consumers demand videos—50% like text above all, and 28% articles. Both percentages are up from last year.

In contrast, 24% prefer infographs, and 12% like videos.

As previously reported. 60% don’t think any brands or stores are doing email well.

What does that mean? Here are the top five considerations: 

  • They contain useful information or news—75%
  • They contain a message relevant to me—64%
  • They contain offers—59%
  • They are clear and concise---56
  • They are well laid-out—47%

Drilling down further, we find that 31% of consumers feel that less than one in 10 message they get is relevant. Only 27% of marketing communications are seen as relevant by those who get them, the study estimates.

However, there’s a slight uptick in the numbers of marketing communications, the study reports.

Forget opens and clicks—what does it take for consumers to read emails?

For 76%, it’s an interesting subject line or topic. And 68% say it’s that the email is short. In addition, 51% want a clear action to take and 39% like to see images.

Slightly over a quarter will read an email from a person, not a company.

Opens and click metrics are similar, but not identical.  

How do consumers react to emails? Well, 59% will save it for a later date. But 56% will click on a ink, 54% will keep the information in mind for later use, and 35% will visit the company’s website.

But don’t rely on this happening—15% will take the occasion to visit a competitor’s website.

Again, they have to know the brand. Half will mark a message as spam when it comes from an unrecognized sender. They also don’t like to be emailed too often, with two in five citing this as a reason not to open.

What drives them to unsubscribe? Here are the top reasons:

Information no longer relevant to me—55%

Too many emails (frequency)—53%

Don’t remember signing up—47%

Don’t recognize sender/Brand/shop/website--44%

But here’s a positive finding. Of those polled, 59% will check their junk/spam folder once a week or more for interesting or relevant emails. And 21% check once a month. So if you end up there, you might still get out. 

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