Retailers Increase Email Marketing Activity in November

Published on November 30, 2009 | Comments: 0
Retailers substantially increased their email marketing activity in November 2009, according to Chad White, research director at Responsys and author of the Retail Email Blog. Retailers sent an average of 3.5 promotional emails a week this week, up 40% from 2.6 in October 2009 and 9% from 3.2 in November 2008. The launch of the holiday shopping season accounted for most of the increase in retail promotional email activity. Retailers sent more promotional emails on “Black Friday,” the day after Thanksgiving which fell on November 27 this year and unofficially marks the start of the holiday shopping season, than any other day so far this year. Sixty-nine percent of major online retailers sent at least one promotional email on Black Friday. The Retail Email Blog predicts today’s “Cyber Monday” online sales and the day after Christmas (December 26) may produce promotional email volume equal to or exceeding that produced on Black Friday. Initial reports on retailers’ Black Friday performance this year suggest that brick-and-mortar retailers experienced a slight bump in sales, but online retailers fared much better. According to retail data analysis firm ShopperTrak RCT Corporation, U.S. in-store retail sales on Friday, November 27, 2009 grew 0.5% compared to Friday, November 28, 2008 (the day after Thanksgiving 2008). In dollar figures, Black Friday spending increased from $10.606 billion in 2008 to $10.66 billion in 009. However, Black Friday 2008 featured a 3% growth rate from Black Friday 2007, when brick-and-mortar spending totaled approximately $10.3 billion. The National Retail Federation (NRF) says heavier customer traffic helped compensate for a decline in average Black Friday spending per customer. According to the NRF, a total of 195 million customers visited stores between Thursday, November 26 and Sunday, November 29. This represents a 13.3% increase from the 172 million brick-and-mortar customers the NRF tracked during the equivalent four-day period last year. However, the NRF says average spending per customer dropped 7.8%, from $372.57 in 2008 to $343.31 in 2009. The NRF estimates total Black Friday weekend spending this year at $41.2 billion, a 0.4% increase from $41 billion last year. As opposed to slightly improved brick-and-mortar sales, e-commerce sales substantially grew on Black Friday this year. According to digital marketing intelligence firm comScore, U.S. consumers spent $595 million online during Black Friday 2009. This was an 11% increase from $534 million spent online during Black Friday 2008. Results of several other indices and research reports on consumer behavior support the retail industry’s decision to increase their volume of email this month and on Black Friday in particular. Following decreases in September and October, the November 2009 Consumer Confidence Index slightly increased from 48.7 to 49.5. The Index is still well below its September score of 53.4, but shows at least some improvement in consumers’ economic attitude as the holidays approach. In addition, three recent research reports suggest online sales will be a bright spot in this year’s holiday selling season. According to the November American Express Spending and Saving Tracker, the internet will be a popular resource for holiday shoppers this year. Seventy-nine percent of overall respondents plan to use the internet as a tool for holiday shopping, 45% plan to purchase items online, 28% will use the internet to buy hard-to-find items, 27% will use the internet for product research, and 25% will go online for gift ideas. The 2009 Holiday Forecast from comparison shopping site corroborates these findings. PriceGrabber’s research indicates 70% of consumers plan to save money by performing research and comparison shopping online this year, compared to 38% last year. And according to the Deloitte 24th Annual Holiday Survey, 19% of consumers plan to access the internet via their mobile phones while shopping to find store locations, obtain coupons and sales information, as well as research products and prices. This percentage rose to 39% in the 18 to 29 age group. In addition, 10% of overall respondents plan to spend more on holiday gifts this year than last, and 43% plan to spend about the same. In the next 30 days, 22% of overall respondents plan to spend more than they did in the last 30 days.

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