August Promotional Email Volume Up 11% YOY

September 6, 2011

retail-email-index-aug-2011-sep-2011.JPGThe top online retailers sent each of their subscribers 3.2 promotional emails on average during the week ending September 2, 2011 (last week of August), according to Chad White, research director at Responsys and author of the Retail Email Blog. That’s down 4% week-over-week, up 2% from where it was four weeks ago, and up 11% year-over-year.

The month began slowly, averaging slightly more than 3.0 promotional emails the week ending August 5 and then dipping slightly the week ending August 12 before rising to roughly 3.1 the week ending August 19. This was followed by a sharp week-over-week jump to more than 3.2 the week ending August 26 (which was a year-high average, see “Promo Email Continues Strong YOY Pattern” below), and then falling to about 3.2 the week ending September 2.

Labor Day Spikes, Back to School Fizzles

retail-email-seasonality-aug-11-sep-20111.JPGWith the week ending September 2 including the start of what for many Americans was a long Labor Day holiday weekend (Monday, September 5), it is not surprising that the percentage of promotional emails mentioning Labor Day more than quadrupled from less than 5% the week ending August 26 to 20% the week ending September 2.

Concurrently, promotional emails mentioning back to school began a steep decline the week ending August 26, when the percentage dropped from 20% to less than 15%. That percentage further declined to a little more than 10% the week ending September 2, with most US school districts starting classes by this week.

Well less than 5% of promotional emails mentioned Halloween (Monday, October 31) throughout the month. Interestingly, there was a slight uptick of Halloween-themed emails the week ending August 19.

Friday is Favorite Email Day

retail-email-participation-aug-11-sep-2011.JPGFriday, September 2 was the clear favorite day of the week for major online retailers to send promotional email, as 55% did so. No other day saw as many as 50% of major online retailers send promotional email; Thursday, September 1 came in second with a 48% participation rate. Forty-five percent of major online retailers sent promotional email on both Monday, August 29 and Wednesday, August 31.

Only 28% of major online retailers sent a promotional email on Saturday, August 27. This placed Saturday well behind even the other traditional slow email day, Sunday, August 28, which had a participation rate of 37%, roughly one-third higher than Saturday’s rate.

Promo Email Continues Strong YOY Pattern

Each month from February to July 2011, average retail email volume was up substantially from where it was a year earlier. The highest average number of emails top online retailers sent their subscribers in any given week during the equivalent period in 2010 was approximately 2.9 (week ending August 18, 2010), while this year it surpassed 3.2 (weeks ending August 26).

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