Most Received High Volumes of ‘Junk’ and ‘Spam’ Email during Holidays

January 18, 2008

This article is included in these additional categories:

Email | Retail & E-Commerce

More than half (56.4%) of consumers say they received high volumes of “junk” from marketers (“email from companies I know but that is just not interesting to me”) – second only to “spam” (“email I never asked to receive”), which 65.7% say they received in high volumes during the holidays, according to Return Path.

Below, some of the findings of Return Path’s “Fourth Annual Holiday Email Consumer Survey.”

  • Nearly six of ten consumers (59.1%) surveyed by said the primary factor in opening and reading an email is whether they know and trust the sender.
  • That’s followed by having previously opened an email and found it valuable, at No. 2, and the subject line, at No. 3:


  • Most respondents (77.9%) said they noticed an increase in email during the holiday season:
    • Some 13.0% said the amount was “overwhelming.”
    • 24.1% said the amount was higher yet “still manageable.”
  • In general, some 26% of respondents said they get 50+ or more non-personal messages each day, and  21.9% say they get 35-50 messages daily.
  • Reaction to unwanted holiday email varied:
    • Some 45.6% just deleted the emails.
    • 24.8% said they unsubscribed.
    • 22.3% said they reported the sender as a spammer.
  • In general, most email subscribers say they typically seek to first unsubscribe from unwanted email, then complain to their ISP:
    • Nearly twice as many (26.2%) say they “always” unsubscribe as those who “always” click the spam button (13.9%).
    • Just 8.4% say they “never” unsubscribe, while 28.5% say they “never” complain to the ISP.
    • Generally, the tendency is to unsubscribe (62.8%) or ignore a sender’s every email (65.2%) than to complain by clicking “this is spam/junk” (50.9%).


About the study: The Holiday Email Survey was conducted on December 26, 2007-January 6, 2008 with members of the My View (formerly Survey Direct Live) consumer panel. The survey includes responses from 1,695 consumers, ages 18-54, in the US and Canada. A PDF of the study is available from Return Path.

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