There was no holiday email blizzard burying subscribers under heaps of unwelcome marketing messages. Neither was there a consumer backlash against email marketing, or evidence of weakening engagement or offer fatigue around Christmas 2014. In fact consumers’ interest in email marketing actually increased during the peak of the holiday shopping season.
Return Path’s analysis of 2 million active subscribers’ email engagement between October and December 2014 reveals an intriguing relationship between consumers and popular brands that contradicts some long held beliefs about inbox overload and the holiday shopping season.
The Inbox is Commercial
Only 18% of messages in the typical inbox are personal, peer-to-peer communications. The rest are commercial, and most (53%) are promotional. That means marketing: offers, but also newsletters, marketing content, and other non-transactional messages from consumer brands.
During the quarter, that meant that the typical inbox received roughly two personal messages, five promotional messages, and two other commercial messages per day — around nine altogether (9.4). Volume climbed steadily in mid-November to a high of 12 daily messages on cyber Monday, with promotional mail making up roughly all of the additional volume. The daily holiday increase was far less pronounced on other days, though: Between November 24 and December 23 the typical inbox received ten messages, six of which were promotional.
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