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Econsultancy Research Finds Email Beats Social Media for Consumer Attention

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Remember the First Law of Wing Walking: "Never let hold of what you've got until you've got hold of something else." Well, a new report on consumer online shopping behavior from Econsultancy says that marketers still need to focus on targeted and relevant email marketing if they want to enjoy e-commerce success even if consumers are increasingly using social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook.

wing-walking-1919.jpg According to Econsultancy's US Research Director, Stefan Tornquist, "Despite the current hype surrounding social media, social network adoption and its influence on e-commerce is far from maturity. More than a third of consumers (37%) do not use a social networking site, while those who have recently become a 'fan' or 'friend' of a company or brand online are still in the minority."

And for a range of different types of commerce-related messaging, including vouchers, special offers and delivery notices, notification via social media falls behind more established methods of communication such as email and even snail mail.

The Econsultancy report is entitled, "How We Shop in 2010: Habits and Motivations of US Consumers." It focuses on how people prefer to interact with e-commerce brands, how they conduct product research, and the relative importance of different factors in the decision-making process leading up to an online purchase.

Based on a survey of more than 1,400 nationally representative US consumers, the findings are broken down by different age groups and demographics to give deeper insight into their behavior and motivations.

The results highlight the continued importance of targeted and relevant email marketing. Over half of consumers reported that irrelevant information (53%) devalued emails they received. Similarly, 54% of respondents said that emails weren't valuable because there was "no special advantage" to receiving them.

Tornquist adds, "Although a variety of media are competing for consumer attention, email continues to be the desired channel for many types of commercial communication. Social networking and its effect on the nature of brand is the hottest topic in digital marketing, and deservedly so. It's still worthwhile for marketers to remember that social network adoption is far from maturity."

Other research findings include:


  • 55% of all respondents reported that a high product rating makes them more likely to buy, and the inverse is also true. Similarly, 56% report the presence of consumer-generated reviews increases their likelihood of using a particular online store.

  • Nearly two-thirds of people under 24 have checked email on a mobile device.

  • People identify search as their primary source of information for almost all types of purchase.

  • Men are more likely than women to use search engines and expert site reviews during a single round of research, especially for lower ticket items. Women tend to take part in more discussion, online and off, at any price level.

  • The purchase process for women tends to involve a greater range of media than men, and to take longer.

  • The age range that's most reliant on e-commerce is 25 to 38 years old. These people are comfortable with the Internet, strapped for time, and prize convenience and price. With a greater likelihood of having small children at home, they are less inclined to go to stores and somewhat better able to accept deliveries during the work week.

You can purchase How We Shop in 2010: Habits and Motivations of Consumers for $249.


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