With Email to Millennials, You Just Don't Know If They're Going to Open It - eMarketer

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With Email to Millennials, You Just Don't Know If They're Going to Open It

People between 18 and 29 say they will always or never look at email marketing messages; older users are more predictable

December 16, 2016

Younger US millennial email users are more hit or miss than older email users when it comes to opening marketing emails, according to recent research by Fluent LLC.

Frequency with Which US Email Users Open Marketing Emails, by Age, Oct 2016 (% of respondents in each group)

Nearly one-fifth (18%) of US email users ages 18 to 29 surveyed by Fluent in October 2016 said they always opened marketing emails, compared to 9% of respondents ages 30 and older. But a higher percentage of the 18-to-29 group (24%) were also more likely to never open a marketing email than were respondents ages 30 and older (19%), the study found.

Overall, 55% of respondents ages 18 to 29 said they opened marketing emails at least sometimes, slightly higher than the 49% of respondents ages 30 and older who said the same. The difference between the younger and older groups was 9 percentage points higher for the younger group when it came to always or frequently opening marketing emails.

Conversely, only 44% of the younger group professed to rarely or never open marketing emails, vs. 51% of respondents ages 30 or older.

Sources from Which US Internet Users Learn About Holiday Sales, Oct 2016 (% of respondents)

Unfortunately, opening a marketing email doesn't necessarily mean its message will have much of an impact on the recipient—especially in a busy shopping period like the holidays.

According to an October 2016 survey conducted by Synchrony Financial, just 31% of US adult internet users said they learned about holiday sales via email announcements. While that isn’t a bad percentage per se, it was lower than eight other sources listed by respondents, including announcements sent via physical mail.

Putting aside this research, email continues to be popular tactic for reaching consumers. A November 2016 poll of US advertising and marketing decision-makers by Autopilot found 26%—the third-highest response rate—labeled email marketing an investment priority in 2017.

eMarketer predicts spending on email advertising by US marketers will swell to $310 million this year, up from $280 million in 2015. In 2017, it will rise to $340 million.

—Ben Clague

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