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Marketers Inundate Consumers with Email Around the Holidays

Posted on 8.16.2016

Even as email open rates are falling, the proportion of brands sending "holiday-themed" emails is on the rise.

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A new study from Yes Lifecycle Marketing revealed that the number of emails brands sent related to holidays nearly doubled and resulted in a 5 percent dip in open rates in comparison to previous years. The company used its Yesmail Market Intelligence tool to track the year-over-year performance of email marketing campaigns for 30 major brands, including Amazon, Target and Nordstrom, in both Q3 and Q4 of 2014 and 2015.

The study essentially suggests a link between the increase in email volume during the holiday season and a decrease in open rates for all marketing emails during the same period. While open rates for Q3 2015 were higher year-over-year, they decreased by 13 percent moving into Q4. The decrease coincided with a 29 percent spike in send volume during the same period.

"More is clearly not better when it comes to email," said Michael Iaccarino, CEO and chairman of Infogroup, the parent company of Yes Lifecycle Marketing. "By using intuitive technology and experienced service partners to propel data-driven programs, retailers are able to consider the specific needs of their audience and meet business objectives."

Additional findings from the study include:

  • While marketers sent more back-to-school emails in 2015 than 2014, the average open rate decreased by 3.4 percent (from 14.6 percent to 14.1 percent) year-over-year.
  • The number of marketers who deployed Halloween emails almost doubled year-over-year in 2015 (from 33 percent to 63 percent).
  • Black Friday-themed emails deployed over Thanksgiving weekend generated higher open rates than base communications over the same period (15.7 percent vs. 13.7 percent).
  • Green Monday -- typically the second Monday in December -- is the third largest online shopping day of the year, yet only 10 percent of retailers sent Green Monday-themed emails last year.


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