Survey: More consumers responding to permission-based e-mails

According to Internet advertising company Doubleclick’s third annual consumer e-mail study, permission-based e-mail can have a “dramatic” effect on both online and offline sales. The survey, released Oct. 21, shows that as a result of receiving permission-based e-mails, 68% of consumers have placed online orders, 59% have bought items in stores, 39% have ordered via catalog, 34% have called call centers, and 20% have placed mail orders. In addition, the study says that 78% of online shoppers have placed online orders after clicking on an e-mail.

Among other results, 66% of online shoppers said plan to place e-mail orders during the upcoming holiday season, while 48% will use e-mail to assist in making purchases for birthdays. Eighty-six percent of online shoppers have placed orders from the same merchants more than once, which New York-based Doubleclick says is consistent with last year’s results, and 46% have used online coupons or codes when shopping online over the past year.

The survey also finds that 62% of consumers request customized content in their permission-based e-mails, while 91% prefer content based on interests they’ve specified. And among those who’ve requested customized e-mails, 35% said they’re more likely to place orders as a result.

Respondents report that e-mail volume has grown 60% during the past year; they get 254 e-mails in their inbox per week compared to 159 a week last year. Naturally, 90% of survey participants cite spam e-mail as their leading concern, and just 5% said they read spam, down from 18% in 2001. The frequency with which consumers receive permission-based e-mails was not as big an issue—just 28% cite that as a concern.

The survey, conducted by Beyond Interactive and Greenfield Online, polled 1,000 consumers—roughly an equal number of men and women with an average age of 44.3—who said they use e-mail at least once a week in September.

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