Email Preferred Communicator by Consumers For Business Dealing

Email Preferred Communicator by Consumers For Business Dealing

According to the 2008 study of consumer attitudes towards email and online interaction with businesses, completed in May 2008 by research firm Ipsos for Habeas, Inc., 67% of consumers prefer email as a primary method of communications in their personal and business capacities, and 65% will continue to prefer email in the future despite the rise of online threats and the emergence of other communication channels and Web 2.0 applications.

The report also revealed an interest from consumers in gaining more control over their online interactions with businesses and an increasing level of concern over spam and virus threats reaching consumers through their mobile devices.

Des Cahill, CEO, Habeas, said "... consumers are becoming even more dependent on email for their relationships with each other... this... study illustrates the relevance and longevity email has within the online ecosystem... "

Highlights from the study include:

  • Consumer opinion of the future importance of email registered far above future expectations for video conferencing (19%), instant messaging (17%), SMS text messages (12%) and Web meetings (12%).
  • 65% of the demographic between the ages of 18 to 34 (most comfortable with IM, SMS and emerging communications methods), expect to favor email to communicate with businesses in five years.
  • 69% of those surveyed expressed concern about being victimized by email fraud scams, up from 62% in 2007
  • As many as 35% of those surveyed do not know what to look for when trying to sift through emails that might potentially be dangerous.
  • 43% of respondents voiced concern over the spam and virus threat to mobile devices, up from 36% in 2007, and a reflection of the increasing use of the "mobile inbox" through smartphone and internet-enabled phone devices.
  • More than 88% of respondents said they would like organizations to give them more choices over the content and frequency of the emails they receive, including options on advertisements, special offers, articles, newsletters, white papers and other specific content options.
  • More than 80% of participants favor doing business with organizations that use opt-in permission to send them email.
  • Only 12 percent of respondents acknowledged making one or more purchases from businesses they did not know.
  • Daily email messages ranked with pop-up advertisements as the most damaging online tactics to a company's online reputation.
  • More than 80% feel that a business' reputation is negatively affected if it shares customer email addresses with third parties.

Communication Preferred by Adult Internet Users When Dealing With BusinessesApril 2008

Type of Communication

% of Respondents



Web site


Postal mail


Fixed-line voice


Mobile voice








Web meetings


Video conferencing


Source: Ipsos/Habeas, May 2008

This year's report found that nearly 60 percent of users employ two or more personal email addresses, giving a different address to entities they do not trust while maintaining separate accounts for trustworthy sources. 

Cahill concluded that "Far from being eclipsed by Web 2.0 and other emerging communications methods, consumer expectations suggest that email will be the workhorse channel around which future online communications will revolve... "

Editor's Note: Supporting and expanding on the intense interest in B2C communications methods, Accenture's Global Content Study 2008, "The Challenge of Change: Perspectives on the Future for Content Providers" provides a thorough analysis Whitepaper in PDF format that addresses in detail  the consumer shift in entertainment and media consumption habits. 

The Global Content Study may be accessed here. For more about the Habeas study, please visit here.


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