Promo Retail Email Volume Falls YOY

October 3, 2011

responsys-email-index-oct-20111.JPGThe top online retailers sent each of their subscribers three promotional emails on average during the week ending Sept. 30, 2011, according to Chad White, research director at Responsys and author of the Retail Email Blog. That’s up 1% week-over-week, down 7% from where it was four weeks ago, and down 1% year-over-year.

This is the first time during the more than five years that the Retail Email Blog has been tracking retail email volume that year-over-year volume has fallen. While Retail Email Blog analysis cannot pinpoint an exact cause, speculation is that several major online retailers included in the tracking group appear to be having deliverability issues or are transitioning from one ESP to another and have not been sending at their usual levels or at all during the past few weeks. Therefore, promotional retail email volume is expected to eventually return to normal levels.

Xmas Messaging behind Trend

responsys-email-seasonality-oct-2011.JPGRetail Email Blog analysis indicates Christmas messaging is a bit behind trend, but it’s still early in the season. Christmas messaging did spike the week ending September 23, from virtually no volume to about 2% of the total, with a slight increase the following week.

Meanwhile, the volume of Halloween-themed messaging almost quadrupled from a little more than 2% to about 8% between the weeks ending September 9 and September 23, with a slight dip the week ending September 30. The Retail Email Blog predicts a Halloween theme should be included in more than 15% of retail emails by the end of the month when the messaging normally peaks.

Back to school messaging dropped significantly during the course of the month and is essentially over, while Thanksgiving messaging slightly peaked mid-month but was back to almost no volume by the month’s end. In addition, as October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, related messaging grew to about 3% of total volume by the week ending September 30, but the Retail Email Blog does not expect its volume to exceed 5%.

Friday Biggest Day for Promotional Emails

responsys-email-participation-oct-2011.JPGDuring the week ending September 30, Friday, Sept. 30 was the most popular day for promotional retail emails, with 50% of major online retailers sending at least one. Monday, Sept. 26, Tuesday, Sept. 27 and Thursday, Sept. 29 tied for second place with a 44% participation rate each, closely followed by Wednesday, Sept. 28 (42%).

As is almost always the case, Saturday and Sunday had much lower promotional retail email participation rates than weekdays.

Return Path: 8 in 10 Commercial Emails Reach Inbox

Globally, only eight in 10 (81%) commercial emails reached their intended inbox in the first half of 2011, according to a study released in September 2011 by ReturnPath. Data indicates the remaining roughly one in five emails that do not reach the inbox wind up either in a spam/junk folder (7%) or are blocked by ISP-level filtering (12%). Regionally, North America has the highest rate of commercial emails reaching the inbox (86%), followed by Europe (84%), Asia-Pacific (78%) and Caribbean/Latin America (62%).

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