Canadian consumers are continuing to receive more and more e-mail each week, with the average number received having increased by 9% during the past year alone, according to the 'E-mail Marketing 2008' study from Ipsos Reid.
Although the increase is much smaller than the 26% growth observed between 2005 and 2006, the great volume of e-mail being received by consumers is starting to cause a few problems, the study found.
Excessive e-mail impact
Some 38% of consumers surveyed said that they now have trouble keeping up with all the e-mail they receive. The volume of e-mail received is also affecting working consumer's productivity: in 2007, only 43% of consumers felt that e-mail has made them more efficient at work, compared to 52% in 2006.
"In order to combat the increasing volume of e-mail, Canadians have created 'junk mail' folders that capture an average of 42% of the e-mail they receive," noted Mark Laver, associate vice president for Ipsos Reid.
Opted in, but why?
While consumers generally complained about the volume of e-mail they receive, some are clearly their own worst enemy as 70% said they had registered to receive e-mails from at least one web site. However, this number has fallen from 2007 when nearly 80% said they had registered to receive messages from web sites.
This decrease was also mirrored in the average number of web sites consumers had registered with, which dropped from a personal average of 8.5 in 2006 to only 7.7 in 2007.
Opting out of marketing
As online consumers struggle to deal with a greater volume of e-mail, e-mail marketers now need to face the reality that consumers are rapidly unsubscribing from lists to which they have previously opted-in. Almost 80% of users who had registered with at least one web site said they had also de-registered from at least one e-mail list.
Finally, although consumers said they are still willing to provide their e-mail address when registering with web sites, 60% said they are now only "somewhat willing", depending on the reason for asking for their e-mail address. Indeed, as consumers work toward more manageable inboxes, there usually needs to be a compelling reason to register themselves and allow yet more incoming e-mails. Laver concluded: "Email marketers will now need to find a subtle balance between frequency and relevance in order for e-mail to continue to be a successful marketing tool."