Over A Third Of UK Consumers Are Opting Out Of Email Lists: Study

UK consumers want fewer marketing emails. But they will subscribe to them when offered incentives, according to a study released Friday by TopLine Comms.

Of 1,000 people surveyed, 41% are opting out of current email subscriptions. In addition, 63% say they prefer to receive less email from companies. And 82% are concerned about how companies use their data.

Yet 75% will sign up for a mailing list if incentivized with credit or vouchers, TopLineComms says.

The news comes as the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) takes effect. The UK will enforce GDPR’s provisions, despite Brexit.

In a related development, companies are rushing to register with Britain’s Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).  

The ICO tweeted yesterday that it is “experiencing unprecedented demand for our payment services as we approach the introduction of the GDPR, which is causing our online service to run more slowly than usual.”



According to TopLineComms, 78% of the consumers polled believe an organization has the right to email them if it has their email address — but not for marketing. Only 9% feel a company can email them marketing materials.

"Email marketing's expiry date may be fast-approaching -- and brands may soon have to explore other options," states Heather Baker, co-founder and CEO of TopLine Comms. 

She adds: "Expect to see more emphasis on PR, search and social advertising as marketers rely less on email marketing and outbound selling to generate leads."

Despite their concern with email privacy, only 42% of the respondents could identify GDPR. And 37% believe the law will affect them personally.

What’s more, 20% are unable to say what a cookie is. And 17% ignore or delete messages with privacy notice updates.

"Most UK consumers clearly have no idea what the GDPR means for them," Baker says. "The business community is similarly lost: there's no real consensus on what will and will not be acceptable after 25th May."

Baker blames the government, in part.

"Customers have received a panicked deluge of opt-in emails from marketing departments, and it's altogether unsurprising: the fines for violation the GDPR can run into the millions, but there is absolutely no information about the most serious breaches that merit the most serious fines. Most companies are therefore erring on the side of caution," she says. 

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