6 in 10 Online Retailers Begin Holiday Email Campaigns

November 1, 2010

Fifty-seven percent of major online retailers have begun their 2010 holiday season promotional email campaigns, according to Chad White, research director at Responsys and author of the Retail Email Blog.

2010 Holiday Emails Outpace Past Two Years
As of October 29, 2010, 57% of top online retailers had begun their holiday email marketing campaigns. Prior to the beginning of October 2010, first references to the holidays by retail email marketers were running ahead of both 2008 and 2009 levels.

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But during the first weeks of October, first mentions slowed to below the levels seen in 2008, when retailers were urgent to kick off the holiday season before the economy got any worse. However, during the last full week of the month, first references to the holiday season surged and now stand back slightly ahead of 2009 and 2008.

Holiday Emails Surge in October
As would be expected considering the high percentage of online retailers who had launched their holiday email campaigns by the end of the month, there was a surge in emails mentioning the upcoming holiday season during October. About 10% of promotional retail emails mentioned the holidays/Christmas during the first week of the month, this figure peaked at more than 25% during the last week of the month.

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Also meeting seasonal expectations, Halloween was the second-most-popular holiday mentioned in retail emails during October 2010. A little less than 10% of retail promotional emails mentioned Halloween the week ending October 8; this figure jumped to almost 15% the following week and slightly declined the third week of the month before hitting a new peak of more than 15% the week ending October 29.

Roughly 5% of promotional retail emails sent during each week of October mentioned Veteran’s Day. The Retail Email Blog predicts this figure will be dwarfed by Thanksgiving references in November, which in turn will be dwarfed by references to the holidays and Christmas. By mid-November, more than half of all retail emails will include at least one reference to the holidays.

Promotional Emails Climb 15% YOY
Top online retailers sent each of their subscribers three promotional emails on average during the week ending October 29, 2010. That’s down 2% week-over-week, down 1% from where it was four weeks ago, and up 15% year-over-year.

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Friday Leading Day for Promotional Emails
Friday was the most popular day to send retail emails the week ending Friday, October 29, 2010, with 50% of major online retailers sending a promotional email that day. Monday, October 25 and Thursday, October 28 tied for second place with 44% of major online retailers sending a promotional email on each of those days.

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Typically, the weekends have the lightest retail promotional email traffic, and the week ending October 29 was no exception. Saturday, October 23 had the lowest percentage of major online retailers sending emails (21%), followed by Sunday, October 24 (30%).

Email, Company Sites Most Used Marketing Channels
Virtually all marketers use email and company websites as marketing channels, according to a recent study from Lyris. Email marketing (97%) and company websites (96%) are the most frequently used marketing channels for all respondent groups.

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