Let's Make A Deal: Consumers Open Emails With Discounts In The Subject Line, Study Shows

Consumers will open emails that mention discounts in the subject line. But they are not fond of seeing their names there, according to a new study from SparkPost, working with SurveyMonkey.

Deals and discounts in the subject line prompt opens for 58% of consumers. In addition, 53% will usually or always open emails that contain product information. 

But only 12% want to see their names in subject lines, and a mere 7% want emojis. Moreover, over 92% have unsubscribed from a brand's email at some point, with 60% doing so because "emails come too often.”

Another 54% have opted out because they have lost interest in the brand, and 50% have reacted over irrelevant content. And, predictably, almost half have unsubscribed to emails to which they never opted in.

At the same time, 34% find overmailing annoying, and 22% are turned off by irreverent content and 11% by unsolicited email.

In contrast, consumers welcome email content that: 

  • Features items they have shopped for
  • Contains deals/offers/sales/coupons/discounts
  • Features new products
  • Includes product suggestions
  • Knows the customer and their wish list or preferences. 



In addition, 22% desire information on upcoming product or service changes. And 20% want follow-up with next-purchase suggestions. 

Whose emails are they opening? Analysis by SurveyMonkey shows that people want to open emails from:

Amazon — 58% 

Target — 9% 

Walgreens — 6%

Walmart — 7% 

Macy’s — 3% 

Wayfair — 3%

Amazon is out front because it provides:

- Personalized recommendations

- Important account information or updates about orders

- Elite/special access to deals and discounts

- Good pictures and graphics of products

- Only relevant information

Amazon achieves read or open rates in the 35-40% range, versus the mid- to high teens for most retail brands. In addition, only 30% of subscribers have not opened an Amazon email in more than 90 days, compared to 40%-50% for most retailers. 

Amazon also has a high inbox rate — around 95%.

Meanwhile, consumers say email influences purchases, but doesn’t generate them. Of those polled, 37% cite social media, review sites and corporate websites were effective in prompting them to buy. But only 18% have bought through the email channel.

This conflicts with what retailers said in SparkPost’s own 2020 Transactional Email Benchmark report. In that research, close to 50% of brands said email is “very important”  in driving conversions, and 70% said the same about brand engagement.

Post-purchase, 32% want tips for product use, and 32% like product review requests. But only 19% seek that information in post-purchase emails.

Also, 60% also use general online research, including product reviews, at this stage and 27% look for instructions on the brand website.

The research is based on responses from 1,124 consumers measured against SparkPost’s recipient email activity and performance panel encompassing 1.5 million consumers.

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