For The Love Of Email: Trusted Old Channel Ranks First In Survey

Maybe it’s GDPR and the recent privacy scandals. But consumers prefer the trusted old channels when receiving direct marketing communications. A survey by the UK DMA shows that 73% cite email as their first or second choice, and that 90% place it in their top four. The second most popular channel — selected by 41% — is the post (i.e., direct mail). 

In contrast, social is rated first by 22%, although a third of millennials rank it above email. Messaging apps and phone are at the bottom.  

Email also is seen as the most relevant channel, with 64% placing it in that category. It is followed by Instagram (50%), the post (49%), Facebook (45%), face-to-face (43%), banner advertisements 943%), text (40%) and messenger apps (33%). 

However, email is way down the list when it comes to informing people about new products and services. TV and in-store rate highest, followed by search, online shopping sites and family and friends. GenXers are most likely to hear of new offerings by email. 



The DMA surveyed 2,016 consumers. Of those, 90% are aware of GDPR and 86% knew that they had received privacy policy updates from brands within the last three months. And72% recalled receiving messages from companies about consenting and opting in to allow them to continue messaging them.

Whatever the channel, email marketers can’t afford to be complacent. Consumers agree they will switch retail brands if:

  • Products/services were cheaper compared to my current company — 76% 
  • Their products/service were higher quality than my current company — 76%
  • Their products/serves were discounted — 72%
  • It would save me time compared to my current company — 60%

What do they rely on when deciding to trust marketing messages 

  • Brand/company reputation — 42%
  • Simple to understand information — 38%
  • Ratings by independent bodies/experts — 35%
  • Expert opinions — 30%
  • Addressed to me personally — 19%
  • A link to what people were saying about the brand company on social media — 12%
  • A link to a chatbot/chat messenger service so I could ask questions — 8%
  • Celebrity endorsement — 6%

However, 20% are swayed by none of these.

Granted, these are UK consumers — people might differ in some ways in the U.S. But they probably reflect similar attitudes. 

Only 23% have smart home assistants, and a minority in the UK have the ability to use voice commands. But 41% resist smart assistants because they do not want to share data with the firms providing the technology.

The study also found that:

  • 73% avoid services that tie them into long contracts
  • 25% have used chatbots, and 27% are interested in using them 
  • 77% of parents and 83% of families with household incomes of 75k or more use at least one subscription service. Such services are most popular among millennials. 
Next story loading loading..