Email marketing: Retailers send more email but ease up on promotions

Top 1000 retailers increased the number of emails they sent consumers in 2021 on average but sent fewer with promotional offers, according to a Digital Commerce 360 analysis of data from email marketing firm MailCharts.

The median number of emails sent increased to 167 in 2021 from 154 the year before. 2020 was the first year of the pandemic, and some merchants slowed down their email cadence lest they seem insensitive to the turmoil many consumers faced during the early days of the COVID-19 outbreak. The median percentage of emails containing promotions dipped to 50.3% in 2021 from 51.7% a year earlier.

Retail chains continued to send the most emails in 2021 and web-only retailers the least. The typical subject line was little changed at a median 38 character. One notable change in recent years: Many more Top 1000 retailers are optimizing their email messages for mobile devices. The median share of mobile-friendly emails hit 98.5% in 2021, rising from 94.8% in 2020.

Retailers of apparel and accessories sent the most emails and those selling consumer electronics the fewest. Auto parts sellers were the most promotional and retailers of flowers and gifts the least.

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