Top online retailers sent each of their subscribers 2.5 promotional emails on average during the week ending Feb. 26, 2010. This represents a 2% decline in promotional email volume from the week ending January 29, 2010, according to Chad White, research director at Responsys and author of the Retail Email Blog.
Although February 2010 saw retail promotional email volume decline compared to the previous year, year-over-year volume increased 13% from an average of slightly under 2.2 promotional emails in February 2009.
Valentine’s Day Causes Commotion
Valentine’s Day, the major retail holiday during the month of February, caused a spike in mid-month retail promotional retail email volume. Retailers sent an average of almost 2.7 promotional emails during the week ending February 12, 2010, with a slight dropoff the week ending February 19, 2010. During the equivalent weeks in 2009, retailers sent an average of about 2.4 and less than 2.3 emails, respectively.
Spending forecasts for the 2010 Valentine’s Day shopping season were mixed. The National Retail Federation (NRF) predicted the average person would shell out $103 on traditional Valentine’s Day merchandise this year, a 0.5% bump from $102.50 in 2008. Total 2010 Valentine’s Day holiday spending was expected to reach $14.1 billion.
However, according to the Brand Keys Customer Loyalty Engagement Index, spending levels for Valentine’s Day 2010 were expected to drop about 5% for both men and women. Men planned to spend an average of $133 this year (compared to $140 in 2009), and women planned to spend $72 (compared to $75 last year).
Distant Holidays Lurk on Horizon
Post-Valentine’s Day and President’s Day (February 15, 2010) seasonal email messaging was low, as the next two major retail holidays, St. Patrick’s Day and Easter, were a long way off. Both holidays experienced mild increases in promotional email messaging by the end of the month, but less than 5% of major online retailers mentioned either holiday in an email during February 2010. This trend is expected to remain level in the early part of this month before promotional email volume relating to these holidays should substantially increase.