October 16, 2012, 12:36 PM

A third of consumers buy after receiving a retailer’s e-mail

Older consumers are especially responsive, a new survey says.

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E-mail remains a workhorse for retailers. 32% of U.S. online adults say they made a purchase in the previous six months as a result of receiving an e-mail from a retailer. The results are especially strong among older consumers, according to the results of an online survey fielded in June by Listrak, an e-mail marketing services. 

Men age 55 and older are the demographic group most likely to make a purchase—38% —following the receipt of a retailer e-mail. 37% of women in the same age group also responded strongly to e-mail offers. Across all adult age groups, women are more likely (35%) than men (30%) to say they made a purchase following the receipt of a retailer e-mail.  

97% of the more than 2,200 consumers who responded to the online survey in June say they receive e-mails from retailers. Of those, 83% say they open at least some of them. 53% of respondents say they’re more likely to open an e-mail if the subject line promises a special offer. 47% say seeing a subject line noting an order confirmation prompts them to open the message, and 38% say they will open messages that contain delivery status information.  Less effective at prompting consumers to open e-mails are subject lines promoting sweepstakes or contests (21%), messages that refer to recent shopping activity on the sender’s e-commerce site (19%) and cart abandonment e-mails that remind the recipient that items remain in their shopping cart (13%).

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