B2C Email Marketing Very Much “Alive and Kicking”

August 11, 2015

BlueHornet-Consumer-Email-Checking-Frequency-Aug2015Email marketing is “not only still alive, it’s kicking,” declares BlueHornet in its latest annual “Consumer Views of Email Marketing” study [download page]. The report, based on a survey of 1,815 consumers aged 18-64, finds that a significant share of respondents are actively checking their email accounts throughout the day and that many continue to ascribe strong purchase influence to the emails they receive.

Interestingly, fewer than 3 in 10 (29%) respondents use a separate email address for marketing and advertising emails, although that figure is higher (44%) among 18-34-year-olds, indicating that the inbox battleground is more competitive among this bracket. (Getting the subject line right is one way to help.)

Regardless of whether they maintain a separate account for marketing emails, consumers are often checking the account where they receive them. In fact, about one-third said they actively check that account throughout the day, while another 9% do so at least 7 times a day.

This suggests that respondents are using multiple devices to check email, and that certainly appears to be the case among youth. The 18-24 group was almost as likely to use a smartphone (87%) as a laptop or desktop computer (90%) to check email, whereas respondents overall were more likely to stick to the computer (93%) than smartphone (67%) for the time being. (Interestingly, the youngest group was slightly less likely than the overall average to own a a tablet and use it for email.)

That difference in preferences extends to the most frequently used device. For respondents overall (18-64), the computer (64%) is the device used most often to check email, while for the 18-24 bracket the smartphone (54%) took precedence over the computer (40%) as the most oft-used.

Turning to email frequency, the study indicates that a plurality of respondents prefer to hear from companies that send marketing and advertising emails on a weekly (44%) basis (with this supported by previous research), though almost one-quarter prefer to receive them more frequently than that. Research has found email frequency to be the top reason behind unsubscribing behavior: in this study, 4 in 10 respondents said that a company giving them the option to receive emails less frequently would effectively persuade them to stay on the list after they decided to unsubscribe.

Email’s Purchase Influence Remains Strong


Email is a key revenue driver in the B2B marketing space, and research continues to show its power as a promotional vehicle with consumers, too. Indeed, in a recently-released study, this publication found that opt-in emails drive purchases among more Millennials than all paid advertising save for TV ads. The MarketingCharts study also reveals that email marketing is particularly effective among women, second only to word-of-mouth in purchase influence among the 16 marketing and advertising channels identified.

In the new BlueHornet survey, more than one-quarter of respondents claimed to buy products and services from marketing and advertising emails multiple times per month (24%) or once a week or more (3%). Another 51% claimed to do so once a month, indicating that in sum, email drives purchases for more than three-quarters of respondents on at least a monthly basis.

Email marketing influences purchase decisions in a number of ways, per consumers, most commonly as follows:

  • They remind respondents to shop (45%);
  • Respondents purchase more often after receiving them (44%); and
  • Respondents purchase offline at a store as a result of an email offer (35%).

So which email offers are most effective? Across all age groups (though most notably for the oldest bracket), free shipping beats dollars off and percentage off deals. Besides discounts and free shipping, consumers most commonly said they would sign up for marketing emails for loyalty or rewards programs (64%).

There continues to be more comfort purchasing from desktops than mobiles, though. The preference for desktops over mobile devices is supported by research in numerous marketing areas, from content engagement to e-commerce conversion rates. Respondents to the BlueHornet survey were just as apt to say they are unlikely (43%) as they are likely (41%) to complete a purchase on a mobile phone or tablet. (To be fair, a bare majority of 18-24-year-olds said they are likely to complete a purchase on a mobile device.) Preventing respondents from purchasing on mobile devices are a greater comfort buying on a computer (50%), security concerns (41%) and sites that are difficult to navigate on mobile (40%). When they do buy via mobile, the 18-24 and 25-34 brackets display a slight preference for mobile websites over mobile apps, while the older groups are most likely to be neutral on the topic.

Finally, in another argument for mobile optimization (in case they still need to be made): when respondents receive an email on their mobile that does not display correctly, a leading 42% will delete it, while another 4% will simply unsubscribe.

About the Data: The BlueHornet survey was fielded by Flagship Research to a national panel of 1,815 consumers. The survey panel was representative of the US population between the ages of 18-64. 7 in 10 have a household income of more than $35k and participants were evenly distributed by gender and geographic region.

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