DMA - Consumers arenât playing by the rules when it comes to email | DMA

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DMA - Consumers arenât playing by the rules when it comes to email

New research from DMA shows that consumers perceive there to be more noise in their inboxes, and reveals that they are ruthless in curating them. Trusted sources remain the best way for brands to find their way to consumer inboxes

Consumers receive more branded emails than in the past. Consequently, consumers trim the number of brands they are in contact with, almost two-thirds (61.6%) settling on between six and 20 brands, an average of 9.8 brands.

Curating inboxes is an increasingly mobile activity. Half of consumers use email ‘on the go’, with a tablet, or more likely smartphone. Consumers manage inboxes while mobile, but they will revert to a PC or laptop to buy.

Consumers curate actively, with multiple accounts now standard behaviour. They will often keep a core account, 51% have accounts that have been in use for at least 10 years. Of brand emails received, 63% are deleted immediately, and 75% of emails are deleted within 24 hours of their delivery.

Consumers are clear about their preferences:

  • 78% wanted ‘interesting’ subject lines
  • 48% wanted images, up from 28% last year
  • 47% said they wanted emails from a person, not a company, up from 24% last year
  • 41% want emails to be mobile-ready, up from 19% last year

Even then, consumer behaviour may confound tracking techniques:

When presented with a relevant, interesting email from a brand they trust, the most popular options are to take the click in the email (58%), or curate the email for later (57% would save the email, 48% would bear the information in mind for later). However, a significant proportion claim to do neither of these things.

  • 47% would go to the company’s website via another route, up from 35% last year.
  • 40% would go to the shop, up from 30% last year and
  • 23% would go to a price comparison website, up from 15% last year.

“There are two consequences for marketers - firstly, if an email doesn’t prompt a click, but another action, then multichannel messaging has to be right and marketers should make it easy for them to find what they want,” said DMA MD Rachel Aldighieri.

“Secondly, if significant numbers of consumers shun the click, then attribution will be problematic. Knowing the consumer journey is extremely important, and using consumer data to map this journey and the place email takes in it will win significant benefits. It could also mean that clicks attributed to search may be correctly applied to email.”


Ed Owen, PR and Content manager

T: +44 (0) 207 291 3324 |M: +44 (0)7813 664656 |E:

About the DMA:

The DMA is a UK trade association for the one-to-one marketing industry - those companies that speak directly to their customers and those companies that help them achieve this. The DMA provides best-practice guidelines and legal services for its members, who are typically marketing, advertising and data-driven organisations.

More than 1,000 companies in the UK are DMA members. The DMA also holds industry events, conducts research and publishes reports, lobbies for legislation to support its members’ business practices and has a close working relationship with the Information Commissioner’s Office. All DMA members must comply with the DMA code, which is available to read here:

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