Retail E-Mail Volume Continues Rise - eMarketer
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Retail E-Mail Volume Continues Rise

Approaching overload?

January 19, 2010

Retail e-mail marketers filled up US inboxes with more messages than ever in 2009, according to data from Smith-Harmon.

The “Retail Email Year-End Trends for 2009” report describes a 12% overall increase in promotional e-mail messages from top online retailers between 2008 and 2009.

The top days of the week for sending promotional retail e-mails remained mostly the same, though Friday increased in importance while Thursday remained flat. More messages on Friday could be directed at weekend in-store shopping and thus drive offline sales.

Most Popular Day of the Week to Send Retail E-Mail According to US Online Retailers*, 2008 & 2009 (% of respondents)

Wednesday, while still relatively unpopular among e-mail marketers, saw a large increase in message traffic. Smith-Harmon attributes this rise to the desire to spread messages out as e-mail overload and inbox clutter become more of a problem.

The average number of messages sent from each retailer to its subscribers went up every month of the year, including a jump from 11.3 to 13.2 e-mails in November because of Cyber Monday and the increased importance of Black Friday in the online channel.

Average Number of Monthly Promotional E-Mails Sent by US Online Retailers*, 2008 & 2009

How many e-mails is too many? In September 2009, 23% of US Internet users who had unsubscribed from e-mail newsletters told the CMO Council they had done so because of receiving too many to manage; another 16% said they caused clutter in their inbox. Further, 22% said they had decided to stop purchasing from a company because of too many or irrelevant e-mails, and another 41% would consider doing the same.

E-mail marketers could avoid inbox overload by turning to analytics and segmentation to reduce overall message volume.

Keep up on the latest digital trends. Learn more about an eMarketer Total Access subscription, today.

Check out today’s other article, “Digital Tools Help Moms Take Charge.”


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