Emails Miss Mark for Most of Gen Y

March 12, 2009

This article is included in these additional categories:

Analytics, Automated & MarTech | Brand Metrics | Email | Promotions, Coupons & Co-op | Retail & E-Commerce | Youth & Gen X

Only 28% of those between ages 18 and 24 say the email they currently get from companies is relevant to them, but many in this age group would be more open to more innovative emails they have more control over, according to a study from the Participatory Marketing Network (PMN).


The study of Generation Y consumers – also known as Millennials, finds that this age group would potentially welcome direct brand interactions through email, but wants more ability to control, organize and manage the interactions.

Key findings from the survey:

  • Gen Y consumers are eager to see “innovative services” that allow them to better control, organize and manage email coming from brands.
  • 78% would like their email client to automatically categorize and delete expired promotional messages.
  • 62%? would like communicate directly with retailers about their favorite products in exchange for getting the best prices from them.


  • 44%? say they’d subscribe to an email service that collected and summarized multiple offers of interest to them.


  • 32%? say they’d share promotional email offers with members inside a social network and open emails from others.
  • More than half of Gen Y consumers (51%) say they’d join a separate social network dedicated to managing brand interactions

These findings are consistent with an earlier phase of research that found ads on social networks are not relevant to 81% of Millennials.

“While online marketing continues to evolve, traditional email communications from marketers have remained surprisingly stagnant,” said Michael Della Penna, PMN’s co-founder and executive chairman “For email to remain relevant for today’s ‘iPhone generation,’ brands must introduce new thinking and innovative features that give users more control and allows them to participate in a mutually beneficial relationship with them.”

About the study: The study was conducted in February 2009 by PMN, in collaboration with Pace University’s Lubin School of Business’ Interactive and Direct Marketing (IDM) Lab. The survey was administered to 220 PMN panel members and consumers between the ages of 18 and 24. The broad definition of Generation Y includes more than 70 million Americans born between 1977 and 2002.

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