May Retail Email Voume Slips 3%

June 2, 2010

Top online retailers sent each of their subscribers 2.7 promotional emails on average during the week ending May 28, 2010, according to Chad White, research director at Responsys and author of the Retail Email Blog. That’s down 3% from an average of 2.8 promotional emails the week ending April 30, 2010.

On a year-over-year basis, online retailers increased their promotional email volume 12% from about 2.4 emails during the final week of May 2009. Compared to steady growth in retail email promotions during the month of April 2010, in May 2010 promotional retail email volume declined sharply during the first three weeks of the month before rebounding in the final week. Promotional retail email volume followed the same general pattern in April and May 2009.


During the week ended May 28, 2009, the highest percentage of retailers (53%) sent a promotional email on Friday, May 28. The lowest percentage of retailers (16%) sent a promotional email on Saturday, May 22. Friday, May 28 was the last day before the long Memorial Day weekend, contributing to the large number of retailers sending a promotional email that day.


Late Memorial Day Revives May Email Volume
The late arrival of Memorial Day (Monday, May 31, 2010) contributed to a sharp increase in overall retail promotional email volume during the final week of May. About 22% of all retail promotional emails sent during the week ended May 28, 2010 mentioned Memorial Day.


The percentage of retail promotional emails related to graduation season, which encompasses May and June, peaked at slightly more than 5% the week ended May 21, 2010 and slid to slightly below 5% the following week. Retailers are now shifting their attention toward Father’s Day (June 20, 2010), which jumped from being mentioned in about 5% of promotional emails the week ended May 21, 2010 to about 11% the week ended May 28, 2010.

Father’s Day email volume will likely continue rising in the first half of June 2010 as graduation email volume should continue declining. In addition, as June progresses the volume of promotional emails relating to the Independence Day holiday (July 4, 2010) should rise from its current negligible status.

Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday Best for Sending Email
Timing in an email marketing campaign, that is, deciding on what day and what time of day, to hit the send button is as important as actually crafting the message and selecting which segmented group of customers will receive it, according to social network Gather. The overall consensus from numerous studies show that mail sent on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays has the best chance of being opened, according to Gather. But more thought – far more – should go into a send decision than that, Gather said.

For example, Monday is a good day because after a long weekend, many email users make it a priority to organize their inboxes. “This means there is a good chance that they will run across your message and open it,” according to a recent Gather blog post.

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