A look at retailers' Mother’s Day email campaigns finds that consumers did not open as many Mother’s Day-themed emails this year compared with last year.

Consumers are opening fewer Mother’s Day-related emails this year than last year, according to email marketing vendor eDataSource.

EDataSource analyzed emails of 17 online retailers of chocolate, flowers and jewelry and mass merchants between March 31 and May 7, with the words mother, mother’s, mom, mom’s or moms in the subject line.

mothers day emailOf the 332 Mother’s Day email campaigns these retailers sent in this time period, only 23 of the campaigns, or 7%, had more than a 20% open rate. This is a 61% decrease compared with last year, when these 17 retailers in the comparable time period (April 1-May 8) sent 350 Mother’s Day-related email campaigns, and 64, or 18%, had a more than 20% open rate. EDataSource considers a 20% open rate as the minimum engagement rate to qualify as “strong,” says John Landsman, director of strategy and analytics at eDataSource.

Landsman notes year over year open rates are decreasing almost universally across industry, brand and time period. “Even Amazon, a very sophisticated emailer, which typically dominates on read-rate performance, has seen drops,” Landsman says.

While there are many reasons for open-rate deterioration, Landsman suspects shoppers are receiving too many email messages, or the messages are not tailored to their interests.


“Given all the online marketing messaging to which [consumers are] subjected, the overall digital bombardment has become so pervasive that one more email message becomes less and less likely to be read,” Landsman says. “This is the ‘clutter’ that digital marketers always talk about, but it’s just getting worse.”

Nine of the 17 analyzed retailers had campaign open rates of more than 20%, according to the data. The most-opened email campaigns were likely sent to a targeted group of shoppers, Landsman says, based on the number of email addresses the retailers sent the campaigns to. The most-opened campaigns also are not extremely promotional, Landsman says. He also notes that these patterns will change in the next few days in the final run up to the holiday.

Jewelry retailer Pandora.com had two of the most-opened emails among this group:

Overall, the flower retailers 1-800-Flowers Inc.’s 1800Flowers.com, FTD Companies Inc.’s FTD.com and ProFlowers.com, along with mass merchants, Amazon.com Inc. and Walmart Inc., sent the most Mother’s Day campaigns.


Retailers Target Corp., Etsy Inc. and Fannie Mae sent seven or fewer Mother’s Day email campaigns thus far in the season, according to eDataSource.


etsy mother's day emailChocolate retailer Godiva.com on April 5 and retail chain Macys.com on April 9 were the first retailers to send a Mother’s Day-related campaign. 1800Flowers.com, ProFlowers.com and FTD.com all sent their first Mother’s Day-themed campaign on April 23.

The vendor also noted that more of the retailers’ campaigns are reaching consumers’ inboxes this year, as the 332 campaigns had a 51% inbox rate this year compared with a 29% inbox rate last year. The inbox rate is the number of emails that a retailer sends that make it into a shopper’s email inbox, instead of the email service provider filtering the message to a spam or junk folder, or because the e-retailer has an invalid email address.


1-800-Flowers is No. 66 in the just-released Internet Retailer 2018 Top 1000, FTD is No. 138, Blue Nile Inc. is No. 108, Amazon.com Inc. is No. 1, Walmart is No. 3, Target Corp. is No. 20, Etsy Inc. is No. 22 and Edible Arrangements is No. 123.