Despite 47 percent of consumers ranking email as their preferred channel for brand communications, over half (55 percent) ignore marketing emails due to inbox overload, according to a new study from Yes Lifecycle Marketing.

For its Surviving the Retail Apocalypse report, Yes Lifecycle Marketing surveyed over 1,000 consumers of all ages and found that in addition to inbox overload, subscribers ignore marketing emails because of irrelevant product recommendations (50 percent) and content (41 percent). The findings indicate that many retailers still fail to understand consumers’ preferences in terms of mailing frequency, timing and content.

Even though consumers will ignore emails that fall short of their expectations, 42 percent reported that they don’t unsubscribe from these communications—instead, they scan the subject lines to determine whether they’ll open.

‘Inbox overload’ is causing over half of consumers to ignore retailer emails

“Growing competition and shifting consumer expectations prompt marketers to start delivering more relevant content, better personalization and unique experiences in order to move consumers along each stage of the customer journey—from awareness to loyalty,” said Jim Sturm, president of Yes Lifecycle Marketing, in a news release. “Brands must get creative with their programs and use the wealth of customer data at their disposal to identify customers’ preferences and interests in order to keep them engaged.”

Creating data-driven customer experiences remains a major challenge for many retailers

Thirty percent of consumers said they had received recommendations for products they’d already purchased. In addition, one in five (19 percent) consumers have received messages targeted to the residents of cities they do not live in, indicating that marketers aren’t adequately collecting and using customer data to personalize communications.

‘Inbox overload’ is causing over half of consumers to ignore retailer emails

“With the dominance of Amazon and shifting consumer behavior, retailers must evolve to meet shopper expectations,” said Michael Iaccarino, CEO and chairman of Infogroup, parent company of Yes Lifecycle Marketing. “Marketers must find the right technology and service partner to help them identify consumer preferences across channels and build data-driven strategies that capitalize on those preferences.”

Additional findings from the report include:

  • Thirty-three percent of subscribers ignore marketing emails if they don’t offer a discount or free shipping, and 60 percent will purchase from emails that offer these incentives.
  • Only 37 percent of consumers say that the communications they receive from retailers are adequately personalized.
  • Centennials are more likely than all other generations to say they receive too many emails (68 percent).

Download the full report here.

‘Inbox overload’ is causing over half of consumers to ignore retailer emails

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Richard Carufel

Richard Carufel

Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 12 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders.

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