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Consumers cut back on the number of marketing emails they receive, and GDPR may be a factor: DMA

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Shoppers say they got fewer emails in 2018 – and were signed up to receive marketing emails from fewer brands, new research suggests.

The DMA’s Consumer email tracker 2019 found that respondents said they received an average of 57 emails to their personal inboxes each week in 2018, down from 73 in 2017. They also estimated that they were signed up to get email messages from around nine different brands, down from 12 in 2017. This is likely to be, says the DMA, a result of the GDPR legislation that came into force last year – and it seems that consumers believe that they now have more control over the emails they receive.

“This year’s report highlights the power of email to be at the heart of brands’ communication with customers, being the central channel that others can then be built around,” said Rachel Aldighieri, managing director of the DMA. “However, it’s fundamental that marketers combine convenience and relevance, building relationships based on transparency and trust.”

The study found that just over half of Just over half of consumers (57%) read more than 50% of the emails they receive. Nearly half (46%) say recognising the brand is key when deciding whether to open an email – although 86% say less than half of brand emails are useful. 

Key drivers for signing up to email marketing include discounts and offers (stated by 51% of consumers), being a regular customer (46%) and joining a loyalty scheme (40%). But it’s important for brands to think through their email strategy carefully, since the most predominant reason for unsubscribing from a brand’s email programme is receiving too many messages (59%), followed by the information no longer being relevant (43%) and not recognising the brand (43%). 

Most people (70%) unsubscribe via the brand’s website or the button within an email, with 40% expecting to never hear from that brand (via email) again or only receive transactional emails (23%).

But almost one in five (17%) expect to be able to change their email preferences or complete some form of survey, offering marketers the opportunity to retain that customer by changing their approach or better understand why they’re leaving. When offered this opportunity for control, around a third (36%) say they would like to reduce the frequency of emails they receive or choose the products/services they hear about (31%) – two of the key reasons they may have clicked unsubscribe in the first place.

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