‘Brand spam’ is driving Brits barmy

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More than 14 billion emails are sitting unopened in British inboxes – and more than half are from brands

09/04/2014 London

A new study reveals that the average Brit has 260 unopened emails in their inbox, totalling more than 14 billion across the country – and the majority of them are from brands.

The Webtrends research, which canvassed 2,000 Britons aged 18 and over, found that 56 per cent of unopened emails are from brands that respondents had signed up to receive communications from, compared to 36 per cent genuine spam and 7 per cent from friends and family.

This ‘brand spam’ is driving Brits barmy. In fact, it’s the most annoying thing companies can do when it comes to their communications (worse than sending texts in the middle of the night), with 84 per cent of Brits saying irrelevant brand spam drives them mad.

John Fleming, Webtrends Marketing Director EMEA & APAC, says: “As consumers, we’re happy to sign up to receive updates from brands, but only bother to open the ones we find relevant. This means companies are wasting loads of money sending us things we just don’t care about – and in many cases it’s turning us off. 36 per cent of Brits unsubscribe from brand communications simply because what they receive isn’t personalised to be relevant to them.”

So how can brands ensure their costly marketing campaigns don’t go to waste? Get more personal.

John Fleming comments: “Of the 20 per cent of Brits who never open brand emails, 60 per cent say they would be more likely to open them if the subject line contained information that was personalised to them. Likewise, of the 65 per cent of people who sometimes or often open brand emails, 82 per cent would be more likely to open them if the subject line contained personalised information.

Brits are most likely to respond positively to brand communications or webpages that deliver real time information relating to their interests (51 per cent), information or offers relating to previous purchases (44 per cent) and information or offers relevant to their location (37 per cent).

New technologies offer businesses the opportunity to truly personalise our digital customer experiences across a wide range of channels, such as website optimisation and in-store. Fleming adds: “Our research shows that just 19 per cent of Britons don’t respond positively when they receive personalised content from brands. The message to businesses is that it’s worth getting to know your customers if you want to create better connections.”

Who are the UK’s worst email openers?

  1. Liverpool – an average of 447 unopened emails per person
  2. London – 392
  3. Swansea – 348
  4. Birmingham – 331
  5. Edinburgh – 315
  6. Cambridge – 307
  7. Oxford – 269
  8. Cardiff – 246
  9. Newcastle – 241
  10. Sheffield – 237

Wolverhampton has the lowest average with just 87 unopened emails

Brits are more likely to open emails from:

  • Retail companies (55 per cent)
  • Hobbies and interests / leisure companies (42 per cent)
  • Travel companies (33 per cent)
  • Financial services / banks (27 per cent)
  • Charities (12 per cent)
  • Media organisations (10 per cent)

To learn more about the latest personalisation trends, please see the Webtrends Contextual Personalisation whitepaper at http://go.webtrends.com/NAWPSEP14ContextualPersonalisationWhitepaper_EMEAENGWPJUL14ContextualPersonalisationWhitepaper.html


EDITOR’S NOTE:b 2,000 British consumers aged 18 and over were surveyed in this research, which was undertaken independently for Webtrends by OnePoll in Q2 2014. Latest statistics estimate that internet users make up 87 per cent of the UK population – the Office of National Statistics announced in June 2014 that this is now 64.1 million.

PR Contacts

Caitlin Epstein


M: 415.820.4177

About Webtrends, Inc.

Webtrends helps companies make sense of their customer data to drive digital marketing success. By combining innovative technology with our team of trusted and creative advisors, our solutions are designed to provide actionable insights, increase customer engagement and boost revenue.

We partner with companies at all levels of digital maturity and offer solutions in analytics, audience segmentation, streaming data delivery, remarketing, online testing and targeting, as well as search and social marketing. We work closely with approximately 2,000 global brands including Microsoft, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Kimberly-Clark, HSBC, Marks & Spencer, npower, BMW, Toyota, The Telegraph, Lastminute.com, Mindjet and many more.

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