Easy To Say Yes: Consumers Ignore And Delete The Emails They Signed Up For

Consumers worldwide will share their email address with a brand more than any other personal detail. But most never open emails they subscribed to, according to The Mobile Customer Imperative, a study released Wednesday by Airship. 

Of the consumers polled, 77% will provide their email address. Next, they will supply their name (67%), interest relevant to the brand (67%) and communication preferences — i.e., channel, topic, and frequency (59%). 

In contrast, 55% will give their postal address, while 53% will provide their mobile number for text messages, 43% will give their securely stored payment information and 41% will give their mobile number for calls. 

Email clearly rules in this area. But having subscribed, consumers are likely to delete or ignore brand emails — 14% always, 34% often and 30% about one half of the time. 

Consumers in the U.S. exceed these averages — 16% always unsubscribe 35% often, and 29% about one half of the time. 



Boomers are most likely to frequently or always unsubscribe — 48% do so, as do 40% of Gen X, 39% of millennials, and 38% of Gen Z. 

In general, consumers worldwide say the following: 

  • I often unsubscribe from brand emails — 41% 
  • I mark for deletion by scanning who it is from — 35% 
  • I mark emails for deletion by screening subject lines — 34%
  • I use a secondary email account that I rarely check — 20%
  • I don’t check email — 16% 
  • I provide anonymous email addresses (e.g., via Sign in with Apple) — 10%
  • I provide fake email addresses — 7%
  • Other — 1% 

Of course, the report is tilted toward mobile apps, and it documents robust growth in app usage, with 75% of shoppers using them more or the same than before the pandemic.

Drilling down, 51% are using them more for social media, 47% for media & entertainment and 39% for retail. 

Why do people opt out from email and other messaging on smartphones? The reasons are: 

  • Messages were too frequent — 51%
  • Information not relevant/personalized to my needs — 40% 
  • Messaging was duplicated across channels (same information across email, SMS, app, etc.) — 32% 
  • Unable to control the types and topic of messages received — 31% 
  • Messaging was too promotional — 27% 
  • Didn’t receive enough value/discounts — 27% 
  • Other — 1%

In the U.S., only 34% say the messages are too frequent.  

As for opting in, consumers cite these motivations: 

  • Earn immediate discounts or loyalty reward points — 35% 
  • Shipping/delivery or curbside pickup alerts — 25% 
  • Order confirmation/receipts — 25%
  • Early access to big sales events, or exclusive product drops — 21%
  • Broad sales alerts & discounts — 20%
  • Personalized offers based on browsing behavior or past purchases — 14% 
  • Special offers triggered by your location — 13% 
  • Product warranties — 13% 
  • Other — 18% 

Globally, German consumers seem to be the most cautious: 36% will give a brand their phone number for text messaging and 29% for phone calls, whereas in India, 72% will do so for texts and 68% for calls.

Airship surveyed 9,143 respondents from the U.S., the U.K., France, Germany, Australia, Singapore and India.

2 comments about "Easy To Say Yes: Consumers Ignore And Delete The Emails They Signed Up For".
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  1. PJ Lehrer from NYU, December 9, 2021 at 11:12 a.m.

    It's interesting that consumers say they unsubscribe due to frequency yet marketers keep saying there is no such thing as too much frequency and all you need to do is change the headline.  

  2. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, December 9, 2021 at 12:10 p.m.

    It's two different things, PJ. Few marketers I have dealt with would be happy with their commercials being aired three or four times per hour in a single episode of a sitcom or drama series. Yet, that kind of wasteful scheduling is probably what consumers really object to---as well as over cluttered breaks,generally. Too many marketers are simply not paying attention as to how their commercial time is being purchased and scheduled in certain venues.

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