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Attitudes toward email marketing have improved over the past four years: Consumers delete fewer promotional email messages without reading them and are more likely to forward such messages to others, according to a report by Forrester Research.

Negative behaviors toward email have declined. Specifically, consumers...

  • Delete fewer messages without reading: 59% of consumers say they delete most email messages without reading them, down from the 63% who said so in 2008 and the 73% who said so in 2006.
  • Integrate email promotions and personal email: Just 10% of consumers say they have a separate email account they use just for receiving email advertising, down from the 15% who said so in 2008.
  • Forward promotional email slightly more often: 12% of consumers say they sometimes forward promotional email to others, up from the 10% who said so in 2008, and 9% who said so in 2006.
  • Are nearly as apt to buy: The percentage of consumers who often buy things advertised via email has hovered at roughly 5% for the past four years. In 2006, 5% of consumers said they often buy things advertised via email. That level rose slightly to 6% in 2008 and dropped to 4% in 2010.


Consumers tend to fluctuate about email's value for product information. In 2006, 22% of consumers said email offers are a great way to find out about products and promotions. That level increased to 27% in 2008, but dropped to 17% in 2010.

The decrease is likely a result of a proliferation of alternative product information sources such as blogs, search engines, social networks, ratings and reviews, and communities, according to Forrester.


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About the data: Findings are from the North American Technographics Omnibus Online Survey, Q1 2010 (US), among 5,094 US adults age 18-88 conducted in March 2010; Forrester's North American Technographics Marketing And Mobile Internet Online Survey, Q3 2008, among 5,400 US and Canadian adults age 18-88 conducted in August 2008; and Forrester's North American Consumer Technology Adoption Study (NACTAS) Q3 2006 Media & Marketing Online Survey, among 5,197 US and Canadian adults. Forrester weighted the data by country, age, gender, income, broadband adoption, and technology attitude to demographically represent the adult North American population.

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