Consumers don’t half mind the barrage of personalized messages they get. But the offers have to be relevant, according to Consumers Value Personalization, a study by Periscope by McKinsey. And attitudes vary by location.
Among U.S. consumers, 50% like personalized communications and 16% like them a lot; only 20% dislike them. In contrast, 38% of UK respondents welcome them, along with 37% of the French and 29% of the Germans. And around 30% in all countries simply don’t care if they get personalized messages.
These are no small findings, given that the pending General Data Protection Regulation requires express consent for just about any type of marketing and data use.
Will people opt in for personalization?
Of the U.S. consumers polled, 58% say will sign up for personalized offers, and 20% will often opt in. The numbers are lower in Europe, reaching 46% in France and 45% in the UK and Germany
Despite the rush of publicity about privacy and GDPR, 70% will not unsubscribe immediately if they get messages for which they have not signed up. But 50% will opt out if they find them annoying.
Relevance is another problem — only 21% of U.S. shoppers say the personalized recommendations they get are relevant, vs. 11% in the UK and Germany, and 10% in France.
Email is the primary personalization vehicle, accounting for 70% of the personalized messages in the U.S., 75% in the UK, 76% in Germany and 74% in France.
That means a lot of email, because 62% of U.S. consumers frequently get personalized messages. So do 60% of French shoppers 55% of those in Germany and 52% in the UK.
But the number of people who prefer email as the main channel is slightly lower: 66% in the U.S., 72% in the UK, 69% in Germany and 59% in France.
The second most popular channel for personalization is SMS, although it barely makes it out of the single digits in all countries.
Meanwhile, the study shows that 55% of American men like personalization, compared with 33% of German men. In marked contrast, 44% of U.S. women feel the same way, as do 25% of German females. Yet women are more positive than women in the UK and France.
As for age, older consumer are most suspicious of personalization — they show a “significantly stronger dislike,” the report says.
The people who are most open to it are in the 30-39 age range, followed by those ages 16-29.
It also depends on the type of business that sends of them. People in the U.S. and U.K. desire personalized messages from grocery stores, followed by restaurants and bars. Fashion retailers and department stores are next, with consumer goods brands close behind. Hotels, airlines and car rental firms are next.
German consumers are slightly different — they also would like messages from grocery stores, then by fashion retailers, hotels and airlines, etc., and consumer goods brands.
What types of messages work best? Short ones that reflect the recipient’s personal style or are tied to an occasion — and those that offer discounts. But 40% say brand messages are only sometimes personal, relevant and intriguing, raising a “red flag for businesses,” the report states.