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How Are Consumers Tackling Their Inboxes?

Here's what research says about how Americans interact with their growing inboxes and how they really feel about all those marketing emails.

Amy McIntosh
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rawpixel woman emailing
(Photo: Pexels user rawpixel)

As consumers, many of our personal email inboxes are filling up at a rapid pace. As retailers, you might be wondering how your email subscribers manage this daily influx of emails. Digital marketing company Fluent conducted a survey to find out how Americans interact with their growing inboxes and how they really feel about all those marketing emails.  

Email is the preferred method of communication for most consumers, with 54 percent preferring email customer service interactions, and 42 percent preferring to receive promotions via email, beating out physical mail (36 percent) and TV ads (32 percent). Next year, 78 percent of consumers expect to use personal email either the same amount or more than this year. 

When it comes to checking email, 19 percent of Americans read their email in real time, while 82 percent read it at least once a day. Most people (75 percent) primarily use their smartphones to check email, while 29 percent use computers and 21 percent reach for their tablets. 

Emails are driving conversions, with 26 percent of people visiting a brand’s store or website based on promotional emails, and another 26 percent making a purchase. 

Among those who signed up to receive emails, retail/consumer products was the most popular type of email (27 percent), followed by daily deals (23 percent) and subscription services (19 percent). And the top reason customers sign up to receive emails? To hear about deals or promotions. 

However, it’s not all good news. More than half (51 percent) of Americans think they get too many emails, and 51 percent rarely or never open marketing emails. Only 15 percent of people always or frequently find marketing emails useful. When emails come in that they don’t want, 35 percent of people will delete the email and 30 percent will unsubscribe. 

Key Takeaways

Mobile First

Most email users access their inboxes on mobile devices, so it’s important that your newsletters are responsive and mobile friendly, allowing your messages to translate across platforms.

Quality Over Quantity

Most Americans think they get too many emails and many don’t find marketing emails to be useful. Be sure your emails are tailored to the correct audience so your messages are meaningful and valuable. Offering promotions or discounts can help, as this is the top reason people subscribe. 

Keep It Up

Email isn’t going anywhere. People are still subscribing to and want to receive emails, and customers continue to make purchases based on email promotions. Continuing to invest in this platform will only help attract and retain customers.


Generation Gap

personal email device


promotional email

 least annoying promotions




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