Email Increases Likelihood to Buy by 50%

February 20, 2009

This article is included in these additional categories:

Analytics, Automated & MarTech | CPG & FMCG | Email | Financial Services | Pharma & Healthcare | Retail & E-Commerce

More than half (57%) of American consumers have more positive opinions about companies that send them emails, and 50% say getting email increases the likelihood they will purchase – either online or offline? – from these companies, according to a survey from Epsilon and conducted by ROI research.

The recent email branding survey, which builds on a similar 2005 Epsilon study, explores the general impact of permission-based email marketing as well as specific vertical product categories, including financial services, retail, CPG, and pharmaceuticals/healthcare.

Epsilon found that permission-based email marketing campaigns extend far beyond e-commerce transactions and also have a significant impact on purchasing behavior and consumer loyalty in the brick- and-mortar world.

Key study findings:

  • 57% of consumers feel they have a more positive impression of companies when they receive email from them.


  • 40% said that simply receiving email has a positive impact on their likelihood to make a future purchase a company.
  • 71% remember email communications when making purchases at the sending company’s web site.
  • 50% said they’re more likely to buy products from companies who send them email, whether their purchases are online or at a place of business.
  • One-third said they usually visit sites directly instead of clicking on an email link.

The survey also captured activities that may not be measurable by typical email marketing platform, Epsilon said. For example, 33% of respondents said they usually visit sites directly, instead of clicking on an email link. In the retail category, 67% of respondents said they purchased products offline as a direct result of receiving an email from a retail company.

Study findings “demonstrate the importance of email marketing as part of a multi-channel communication strategy,” said Kevin Mabley, SVP, Epsilon Strategic Services. “While many elements of digital and email marketing are measurable, there are other impacts that cannot be represented by merely by click-thru rates or online purchases.”

Other key insights about customer behavior, loyalty and email:

  • Consumers appear to be growing more accustomed to offers from companies they trust and seem to appreciate the relationship. Some 84% of respondents said they like receiving email from companies with whom they register, because even if they don’t always read the message, it’s good to know the information or offer will be there when they’re ready. This response rate is up significantly from 69% in a similar, 2005 study by Epsilon.
  • The number of consumers who agree that the fact that they receive email from a company makes them more likely to purchase products from the sender in the future regardless of where they make the purchase (50%) is higher than in 2005 (37%). This demonstrates that consumers are noticing emails, and while they may not be ready to purchase immediately, the correspondence is having a greater influence on their shopping behavior and brand recognition.
  • The relationship between consumers and email marketers may be more fragile in 2008 than three years prior. In 2005, 43% of respondents said it would be okay for companies they know and trust to send email more frequently. In the recent study, that number dropped to 29%.
  • There are some noticeable differences between the responses from men and women. In particular, 60% of women and 49% of men regularly save email in their inbox to refer to it later when making purchases. This suggests that men are more likely to make impulse buys while women will wait for a deal or contemplate a purchase further.


“The impact of successful multi-channel branding can extend well beyond the typical metrics associated with direct e-commerce transactions and response rates to email campaigns,” Mabley added.

Other email research from Epsilon (via MarketingVOX) shows that receiving permission-based email makes travelers more likely to patronize a given travel company and contributes to the formation of a more favorable opinion of the company – in addition to a stronger sense of brand loyalty.

About the study: Epsilon’s email branding study, “Beyond the Click: The Indirect Value of Email,” is based on a mid-October 2008 survey of 1,517 consumers.

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