Email still top channel for marketing – DMA

Email is still the most popular marketing channel, according to consumers surveyed in the ‘Consumer Email Tracker 2020’ report released today.

The research, conducted by the DMA and supported by Pure360, delves into consumers’ perceptions, preferences and dislikes when it comes to email.

Email survey

The survey asked over 2,000 consumers their opinion about the email addresses they have; how they use them; and the emails they receive from brands.

The data reveals that email remains the most popular channel across a range of contexts. The number of people that prefer email is almost twice as much as any other channel. 46% stated this compared to 26% for post, and 24% for either text or face-to-face.

In late 2019, consumers estimated the number of emails they receive, on average, as 54.9 per week to their personal inboxes. That’s down from 73.3 in 2017.

Around half of respondents (56%) also believe more than half of these emails are marketing messages from brands.

Mail shots: DMA/Pure360 survey says email still popular for consumer marketing.


However, just 13% of people said that over half the emails they receive are useful to them.

The most cited reason for unsubscribing from a brand also remains receiving too many emails (57%).

“It’s clear from our findings that email remains at the heart of brands’ ability to communicate with customers. But they also highlight key areas where marketers can improve, such as relevancy and frequency of contact,” said Tim Bond, Head of Insight at the DMA.

“Whether they’re considering a purchase, have just made one or need some help, our latest findings showcase email’s ability to help brands engage across the customer journey.”

Komal Helyer, Pure360 Marketing VP, said: “It’s clear that email marketing remains core to the multi-channel experiences available to brands.

“These latest figures highlight how consumers believe email to be the best channel in a range of different contexts.

“As a marketing communications channel, it continues to provide brands with a unique opportunity to create valuable and meaningful experiences for consumers.”

What consumers want from brand emails

Content-wise, customers like a clear transactional link behind the marketing emails they receive. This includes discounts or offers (65%), email receipts (59%) and advanced notice of new products/services or sales (43%).

In other words, customers are looking for practical content that’s able to facilitate their interaction with brands.

The main reasons given for signing up to receive emails from a brand echo this, with ‘Discounts & offers’ (48%) coming top.

However, loyalty also clearly plays a role. Simply being a customer already (43%), being sent email receipts (40%), or joining loyalty programmes (40%) are also key drivers.

“Offering recipients more control on top of balancing frequency and relevance could be a trend we see growing. This would further cement email’s position as a powerful channel”, Helyer said.